Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that Russia would welcome any country’s offer of a safe haven to Syrian President Bashar Assad, but insisted that Moscow itself has no intention of giving him shelter if he steps down. (AP/Hurriyet Daily News, 22 December)
“If there is anyone willing to provide him guarantees, they are welcome!” Lavrov told reporters on board a plane returning from Brussels where he attended a Russia-EU summit. “We would be the first to cross ourselves and say: Thank God, the carnage is over! If it indeed ends the carnage, which is far from certain.”
Russia has used its veto right at the U.N. Security Council to protect its old ally from international sanctions, but it has increasingly sought to distance itself from Assad.
File photo: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Reuters/Hurriyet Daily News)