MOSCOW- Russia is pushing a proposal for an international conference on Syria, as International efforts to find a way out of the Syrian crisis intensified in many capitals.
On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow's concern about Syria's conflict is growing but that Russia will continue to oppose the outside use of force.
Lavrov told reporters Saturday that "the situation is becoming more alarming" and that there is a growing impression the country is on the brink of civil war.
However, Russia`s FM Lavrov said, Russia as a member of the United Nations Security Council "will not sanction the use of force."
Eager to maintain its firmest Middle East foothold and stop the West pushing governments from power, Russia has used its UN Security Council veto and other tools to protect President Bashar al-Assad from coordinated condemnation and sanctions.
Russia amplified its call for an international meeting on Syria on Saturday, saying sanctions or military intervention would “only aggravate the already difficult atmosphere”.
“Our logic is that it is not necessary now to apply additional pressure, to introduce sanctions or use the threat of force,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told the Interfax news agency.
“Introducing restrictive or forceful measures clearly will not foster (peace) and will only aggravate the already difficult atmosphere,” Gatilov was quoted as saying.
Russia has already pushed for an initiative which has already run into a snag in the form of US opposition to include Iran.
Gatilov said Iran had a “full right” to participate and that its influence on Syria meant it could play a “constructive role in seeking ways to resolve the Syrian conflict.”
Gatilov said there was no “fundamental difference” between Russia’s initiative and a proposal Annan has floated for a “contact group” on Syria that would also include Iran as well as other regional players.
Earlier on Thursday, Russia's Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, stressed that the unilateral pressure on Syria is not useful and that sanctions do not help solve the crisis, rather they aggravate the humanitarian situation in the country, calling for stopping support to the armed opposition with weapons and money.
In a press conference following the General Assembly session on Thursday, Ambassador Churkin blasted the calls by some countries for foreign interference in Syria as not useful and would lead but to more violence and terrorist attacks.
Churkin also pointed out that while the Syrian Government is fully committed to Annan's plan, the armed groups of opposition declared their rejection of Annan;s plan and worked to abort it.
Russia says it is not out to protect President Bashar al-Assad but that his fate is up to Syrians themselves, not foreign countries or the UN Security Council, and that his exit cannot be a precondition for a political process in Syria.
Russia and China have twice vetoed Western-backed Security Council resolutions critical of Syria, whose security forces have killed at least 10,000 people, by a U.N. count, while losing more than 2,600 of their own, according to Damascus.
One of the resolutions they blocked, in February, would have backed an Arab League call for President al-Assad to cede power.
Analysts say that if Moscow were to help engineer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s exit it would hope to retain influence in Syria.
President Bashar al-Assad’s government has bought billions of dollars worth of Russian weapons and hosts a Mediterranean logistical facility that is Russia’s only permanent warm-water naval port outside the former Soviet Union.