Feb. 8 - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls on countries with influence over the Syrian opposition to press them to enter a dialogue with embattled President Bashar al-Assad. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls on countries with influence over the Syrian opposition to press them to enter dialogue with Assad Under assault in Homs. Amateur video out of Syria appears to show a city under siege as Syrian forces continue military action in the rebellious city. Activists say as many as 100 civilians have been killed in the assault on Wednesday. Now Russia, which vetoed a UN security council resolution on Syria, is calling for dialogue. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SERGEI LAVROV, SAYING: "We support any initiative aimed at creating conditions for the Syrians themselves to enter dialogue and begin the road to national reconciliation. All responsible members of the international community must begin to do this, whether in the Arab world, in Europe, in the United States or in other regions. To attempt in advance to decide the outcome of the national dialogue is not the international community's business, the government and all the opposition forces must sit down at the negotiating table." On Tuesday, Lavrov met face to face with the embattled President Bashar al-Assad. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SERGEI LAVROV, SAYING: "Yesterday we put the question directly to President Assad who said that it is the task of Vice-President Farouq al-Shara to make contact with all opposition groups and to organize national dialogue, which will be inclusive and which will involve all political forces in Syria. We see this readiness as an exemplary factor and we hope that all those who have influence on any Syrian opposition groups will press them to start such a dialogue." Turkey now appears to be preparing a new diplomatic push against the Syrian regime. Istanbul described the Russian and Chinese veto of the U.N. resolution as a "fiasco" and is likely to face a hard sell with Moscow. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters