The crisis in Syria should only be resolved by constitutional means, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
“No one is entitled to decide for other nations who will be brought to power and who will be removed,” Putin told journalists following the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.
“A change of power, if it occurs – and it could only occur by constitutional means - should result in peace and stop the bloodshed,” the Russian president said.
“In order to achieve that goal, we need to work well, to make all parties to the armed conflict stop the bloodshed, sit down to the negotiating table and agree on how they will jointly live in a common country and how the interests and security of people involved in the conflict will be ensured,” he said.
“This should be done beforehand, and not like in some North African countries, where bloodsheds continue despite regime changes,” Putin said.
Despite differences in the positions held by Russia and the West on the issue, they are ready to work jointly to have the conflicting parties finally reach an agreement on a peaceful coexistence, Putin said.
According to UN estimates, over 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 16 months ago.
Russia - along with China - has twice vetoed UN resolutions against Damascus over what it says is a pro-rebel bias. Moscow has, however, fully backed UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan’s faltering peace plan for Syria.
Last week, U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice lashed out at Russia over its alleged arms supplies to Syria. Russia said it was not “delivering to Syria, or anywhere else, items that could be used against peaceful demonstrators.”