MOSCOW, (SANA) – Russia's Foreign Ministry stressed Moscow's commitment to peaceful settlement to the crisis in Syria by the Syrians themselves within the framework of Syria's sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial safety.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that "Only dialogue between the Syrian government and opposition without pre-conditions can guarantee the rapid cessation of shedding blood and destroying the country, in addition to achieving the aspirations of Syrian people in democratic, free and stable development in line with Syria's unity and the respect of the rights of all religious and ethnic groups there."
The statement added that the Ministry received a delegation from Istanbul Council which held talks with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian President special envoy to Middle East Affairs and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.
The Ministry stressed that Lavrov stressed the need for taking a clear stance which affirms Istanbul Council's readiness to implement its commitments according to the plan of the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, the UNSC resolution and Geneva meeting decisions.
The statement added that the delegation members reviewed Istanbul Council's current and future vision of situation in Syria and stressed Russia's key role in providing appropriate circumstances to halt violence and launch a transitional political process.Lavrov Calls on Syrian Government and all Opposition Factions to Start Dialogue
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday called on the Syrian Government and all opposition factions to start a dialogue that gives the Syrian people the opportunity to decide their destiny.
Meeting the Istanbul Council delegation visiting Moscow, Lavrov said, "We want to understand the prospects of uniting opposition factions on the basis of dialogue with the Syrian Government according to the plan of UN Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan."
"Supporting Annan's plan emphasizes Russia's commitment to the necessity of ending violence with all its forms and from all sides as soon as possible, as well as moving to a dialogue in which the Syrian Government and all opposition factions take part," Lavrov added.
He pointed out that the Russian side is seeking to get more details on the relationship between Istanbul Council and all other opposition groups, including the opposition inside Syria.
Russian Military Official: The Syrian Army Ready to Counter any Foreign Aggression
Chairman of the Social Council at the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Korotchenko, said the Syrian Army has strong faith and is well armed, highly trained, coherent and supportive of its leadership and ready to defend its country against any foreign aggression as it is equipped with sophisticated weapons including anti-naval counterforce weapons.
In an interview with Russia Today TV, Korotchenko warned the NATO of any military venture against Syria, saying "If the NATO tried to use its naval capabilities against Syria, it wouldn't be on an easy picnic."
He called on the alliance to back the political process in Syria and refrain, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, from providing support and arms to the armed terrorist groups in Syria.
He affirmed that Russia's arms exports to Syria do not contradict international law and are legally based on agreements signed with the Syrian side.
"Russia legitimately provides arms to Syria, whereas the West send arms to the armed terrorist groups secretly and in violation of the international laws which these groups use against the Syrian army and people," said Korotchenko.
He pointed out that Moscow has documented information on the Turkish fighter aircraft's violation of the Syrian airspace through which the Turkish intelligence hoped for getting information on the work mechanism and capabilities of the Syrian air defenses to be made use of by the NATO.