"Syria was and is our friend. Russia has always been and is against unilateral sanctions," Ivanov said in an interview to Arab TV channel Al-Arabia.
Replying to the question about the possibility of similar measures on the part of the USA, the acting head of the Russian foreign ministry stressed that "sanctions can be imposed by the UN Security Council alone, which is authorized to resort to such measures as sanctions as the last resort." We opine that unilateral sanctions being used as a political pressure run counter to the norms of the international law. We do not agree with such measures," Ivanov said.
Igor Ivanov noted that Syria had confirmed its adherence to joint efforts of the international community in fighting terrorism. "That is why if questions arise with regard to some or other state they should be resolved through a political dialogue," the Russian acting foreign minister said.
"As far as we know, Damascus is ready for such talks, including with Washington," Igor Ivanov stressed.
While replying to the question about separate extremist and terrorist groups, which in the USA's opinion receive support from Syria, Igor Ivanov said that the Syrian leaders more than once assured Russia that Damascus was not rendering such support.
"If some party is concerned over this problem, a dialogue should be conducted. It is through a dialogue that solutions can be found which would meet the interests of regional stability and security," he pointed out.
"As far as we know Damascus is ready for such a dialogue," Ivanov said .