Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the attack on US diplomats in Libya while urging governments to react strongly and timely to provocations against people's religious sentiments.
US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed on Tuesday in an attack on the US consulate building in the Libyan city of Benghazi by an armed mob angry over a US-produced film, considered by Muslims to be insulting to Prophet Mohammad.
"We condemn this crime and offer our condolences to the victims' families," Putin told reporters at his residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
"The safety of diplomats is protected by international conventions and if someone fails to recognise this, it means that they put themselves outside the framework of the law and outside the framework of modern civilisation," Putin said.
At the same time, the Russian President said "religious feelings of people of all beliefs must be handled very carefully".
Government reactions to religious provocation must be "tough and timely”, otherwise the people who feel offended will take matters into their own hands to defend their interests and views, he added.
Anti-American riots continued on Thursday across the Middle East, with at least one death reported near the US embassy in Yemen and scores of people injured in clashes between police and protesters near the US embassy in Egypt.
Putin also used the opportunity to reiterate his argument that the West should not support popular uprisings against dictatorships in the Middle East because this could have unpredictable and hazardous consequences.
First Published: Friday, September 14, 2012, 11:15