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Russian Official Says Western Mideast Policies Short-Sighted

A deputy Russian foreign minister has blamed what he called "short-sighted'" Western policies in the Middle East for helping destabilize countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Libya.

Vasily Nebenzya also said external actors could not solve the Syrian crisis.

He was speaking on May 22 in Jordan at a regional World Economic Forum conference.

Russia has been a key ally of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has shielded him diplomatically.

Nebenzya says Assad has made mistakes, but is "being supported by a portion of the population."

The Russian diplomat says "it is difficult to imagine how the sides [in Syria] can talk these days," but that any solution is up to Syrians.

In a reference to Western powers, he said external players involved in regional conflicts lack a clear strategy. He says he's been "puzzled by the short-sightedness."

Based on reporting by AP