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Russia wants talks, cease-fire in Syria

Sept. 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM
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MOSCOW, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The Kremlin is open to hosting an international conference on the Syrian crisis as soon as possible, Russia's deputy foreign minister said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest briefing to the U.N. Security Council on Syria, warned that the longer it takes to find a political solution to the crisis, the more difficult long-term reconstruction will become.

The situation in Syria "has taken a particularly brutal turn" since he issued a report in August, he said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Moscow was interested in hosting international delegates to discuss the situation in Syria.

"We offer Moscow (as a venue), if someone likes Geneva or Paris, we have no objections," he was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "The key thing is to launch that process as quickly as possible."

Russia and China, veto-wielding members of the Security Council, have objected to draft resolutions on Syria, saying the measures lack balance.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement Tuesday calling for an immediate end to the violence in Syria.

"We condemn terrorist attacks, whose victims are innocent people," the statement read. "It is necessary to immediately stop all violence and simultaneously stop fire by all sides."

Russia counts Syria as one of its main weapons customers.

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