Russian still opposes UN Security Council resolution on Syria
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Russian position against a United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria, RIA Novosti reports.
Syrian unrest began after a group of schoolchildren were arrested in March for writing anti-government slogans on walls. Protests against their arrest soon swept across the country and continue despite urgent political reforms and crackdown on demonstrators.
Britain, France and Germany have been pushing for the UN Security Council to condemn Syria's crackdown on pro-democracy protests. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been using tanks and troops to crush the dissent.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier this month that Russia will not back a UN resolution on Syria. Russia also abstained from supporting resolution 1973 which authorized air strikes to protect Libyan civilians against forces loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
Syrian authorities claim the protests are organized by Islamic extremists seeking to seize power in the country.
Al Assad has come under international criticism for using violent methods to suppress anti-government protesters in the Arab republic, in which up to 800 people are believed to have been killed.
The European Union earlier this month imposed an assets freeze and a visa ban on Assad and nine members of his regime in addition to previous sanctions against 13 other government officials.
Al Assad during a telephone conversation with Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday said he would do everything possible to ensure peace and boost reforms in the divided country and that he would not permit the activities of extremist and fundamentalist groups.