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Russia Opposes Syria Sanctions, Says 'Open To Constructive Proposals'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russia's foreign minister says Moscow is "open to constructive proposals" for dealing with the crisis in Syria but remains opposed to any move by the United Nations supporting sanctions or the use of force against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s comments on January 25 came as European and Arab nations were reportedly working on a draft resolution to be put before the Security Council next week supporting a new Arab League peace plan.

The plan calls for Assad to step down and for elections to be held.

Damascus has already rejected the proposals as interference.

Veto-holding Security Council members Russia and China have blocked previous efforts for a resolution condemning al-Assad for the violence, which the UN says has killed more than 5,000 people since March.

Lavrov said Moscow will push for a quick start of talks between the Syrian government and that country's opposition.

He called possible sanctions "unfair and counterproductive."

Meanwhile, according to Syrian activists and opposition members, government forces stormed restive districts of Damascus on January 25, firing mortars.

The official SANA agency says that the head of the Syrian Red Crescent in the restive northwestern province of Idlib was killed by "a terrorist group." However, activists from the Local Co-ordination Committees blamed his death on "security forces.

compiled from agency reports

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