Assad Vows to Lavrov to Stop Violence, Talk to OppositionWorld | February 7, 2012, Tuesday // 19:07| views
Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) held talks in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on an emergency visit Tuesday. Photo by RIA Novosti.
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has vowed to stop all violence in the country, no matter where it comes from, said Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is on an emergency visit to Syria.
"It is clear that efforts to end violence must be accompanied by dialogue among all political agents. Today we received the Syrian President's confirmation for his readiness to assist in that process," said Lavrov as quoted by RIA Novosti.
Lavrov is on a trip to unrestful Syria together with Russian Foreign Intelligence head Mikhail Fradkov.
The international reaction to events in Syria has been polarized since Saturday Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling Assad to step down and prepare the way for immediate democratization.
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs also said that President Assad will imminently announce the specific date for a promised national referendum for a new constitution for Syria.
"President Assad informed us that in the next days he will meet with the committee that drafted the new constitution. Their work has been completed, and now the date for the referendum is to be annouced," said Lavrov.
Assad and Lavrov also agreed that the mission of the Arab League in Syria should be continued.
However, the Syrian President also enigmatically said that he has no desire to see Russia internationally isolated because of its position regarding his country.
"Russia and Syria have long been connected by friendly relations, but we do not wish to be a burden for our friends," said Assad, as quoted by Interfax.
Meanwhile, the UK, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, as well as Persian Gulf states have joined the USA in recalling their ambassadors from Syria.
The BBC reports that Tuesday evening tanks are closing down on the city of Homs, center of anti-Assad protests, and the site of some of the gravest bloodshed in Syria since the start of unrest in March 2011.
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