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12:32 GMT +3 hours18 December 2014
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No Syria Settlement Prospects Yet - Russian Deputy FM

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No prospects of settlement to the Syrian crisis can be seen yet, a deputy Russian foreign minister has said.

ROME, February 6 (RIA Novosti) - No prospects of settlement to the Syrian crisis can be seen yet, a deputy Russian foreign minister has said.

“Unfortunately, no prospects [for Syrian settlement] are seen and one of the reasons is our western partners do not properly work with the [country's] opposition,” Gennady Gatilov told RIA Novosti in Rome, where he is on a visit, on Tuesday.

“The task is to achieve political settlement of the Syrian crisis, to persuade both sides to sit down to the negotiating table and start searching for ways to solve the problems their country is facing, and ultimately start determining its future,” Gatilov said.

Russia has faced strong international criticism over its refusal to back UN sanctions against Syria, its last ally in the Arab world, over what it called the pro-rebel bias of some resolutions proposed by western nations.

Moscow denies it is backing President Bashar al-Assad and says it is concerned the Syrian president’s enforced departure would only worsen the conflict.

At least 60,000 people have been killed in Syria’s conflict since March 2011, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has said, citing new analysis released by the UN in early January.