| 17.12,11. 05:21 PM |
Assad's Deputy Invited to Moscow for 'Serious' Talks
Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa is to hold talks with Russian officials in Moscow in a bid to defuse the crisis in his country, Russian news agencies quoted a Kremlin source as saying Friday.
"He is to be received in Moscow for a serious conversation," said the source, who was not identified. "This is our contribution to a solution to the crisis, which of course is worrying us."
It was not clear when the talks would be held but some unconfirmed reports said that Shara arrived in Moscow on Friday and would meet Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The announcement of the talks comes after Russia on Thursday took fellow U.N. Security Council members by surprise when it suddenly proposed a draft resolution condemning the violence by both the opposition and regime in Syria.
"Anyone who thinks we are going to praise the vice president of Syria or pat him on the head is wrong," added the source. "Russia is not going to become Syria's lawyer."
"This is our contribution, as a country which in the past had very active ties with Syria," the source added.
Moscow still maintains its Soviet-era ties with Syria which is a leading buyer of Russian weapons and also hosts a Russian naval base.