05:55 GMT23 February 2020
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    Russia does not seek dominance over the Middle East, Russian Upper House Speaker Valentina Matvienko said Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The region can be developed by resolving its many civil conflicts with the help of regional and world powers, she added, stressing a key role for the United Nations.

    "I want to definitively state that Russia does not seek to take up a leading position in the Middle East. The main aim of our policies is to take a key region of the world onto the path of sustainable development," Matvienko said at the Valdai Discussion Club's Middle Eastern Dialogue.

    Russia Still Views Demands to Immediately Remove Assad Unacceptable

    Russia considers calls for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down unacceptable as only Syrians can ultimately decide on the future of their country, Matvienko said.

    "We have always thought and continue to think that demands for Syrian President Bashar Assad's immediate departure as the chief recipe for resolving the Syrian conflict are unacceptable. Only the Syrian people must decide the fate of their state via democratic means," Matvienko said at the Valdai Discussion Club's Middle East Dialogue.

    Russia's stance on the issue has been reaffirmed by recent events in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries, she added.

    "We have never hidden our negative attitude to the invasion of Iraq, the systematic destruction of the state in Libya, the fueling of the civil war in Yemen. The outcome of these so-called 'humanitarian' acts, which were anti-humanitarian in their essence, is always the same. It is the increasing suffering of those who were supposed to be saved from suffering and sacrifices," Matvienko said.

    Tags:
    Valentina Matvienko, Middle East, Syria, Russia
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