EU, Russia pledge to stick to solution to Syrian crisis

Updated: 2013-03-12 15:41


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BEIJING - The European Union (EU) reaffirmed on Monday that the only solution to the Syrian crisis is a political one, while Russia also voiced its hope for a political settlement despite obstacles.

In Brussels, the EU's foreign ministers discussed the situation in Syria with Lakhdar Brahimi, UN and Arab League special representative for Syria.

Following the discussion, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the 27-member bloc would continue to support Brahimi's efforts to create space for a political dialogue between the Syrian opposition and representatives of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The only solution to this crisis is a political one, and the EU is ready to assist in "any way possible", Ashton said.

She added that at the same time, the EU is determined to increase assistance to the Syrian population and support to the opposition.

The EU is the largest humanitarian donor during the the Syrian human right crisis, with more than 400 million euros ($520 million).

"We are looking at ways we can work with the opposition to help restore basic services, such as medical supplies, water purification and power generation, and even some administrative services," Ashton said following the council meeting.

"Meanwhile, we continue to work with our international partners to further narrow down differences," she added.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country is ready to assist in finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict, despite obstacles created by some "sponsors" of the Syrian opposition.

"There are lots of those who attempt to prevent (the conclusion of violence), including the outside sponsors of the so-called hard-line opposition," Lavrov told reporters before meeting Haytham Manna, coordinator of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) of Syria.

"We are convinced that the efforts to unite patriotic opposition on the platform of readiness for a dialogue ... contribute a lot to the process we want to conceive," he was quoted as saying in a report posted on the foreign ministry's website.

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