BRUSSELS, February 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the United States are trying to use all chances to launch political dialog in Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
“There are sprouts of hope that the government and opposition have begun seriously talking about the necessity of dialog, but with some conditions,” Lavrov told journalists.
“We discussed how to help [the parties] not to make those preliminary conditions an obstacle on the way to such dialog,” he said following Sunday’s phone talks with US State Secretary John Kerry.
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 Assad and says it is concerned that the Syrian president’s forced departure would only worsen the conflict.
Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in Syria’s conflict since March 2011, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said earlier in February.