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`Putin, Obama did not discuss refuge for Assad`

Last Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 18:30

Moscow: The possibility of Moscow providing asylum for embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not discussed during a conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama, a Kremlin official said on Thursday.

"They did not discuss any destination," Putin aide Yury Ushakov said.

The two Presidents spoke on Wednesday, just hours after the death of Syria`s defence minister in a suicide bombing in Damascus.

Ushakov also said the issue was not touched on in a meeting on Wednesday between Putin and Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Reports in British and Turkish media on Thursday suggested that Assad`s wife, Asma, had fled to Russia after Wednesday`s attack on Syria`s national security headquarters.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed as a "joke" earlier this month the suggestion that Moscow could offer Assad refuge.

The Kremlin has come under international pressure over its refusal to back UN resolutions against Syria, Russia`s sole remaining ally in the Arab world.

But Russia says it has no interest in seeing Assad remain in power, but that the "Syrian people" should decide his fate.

A UN Security Council vote on a tough, new Western-backed resolution was postponed in the wake of Wednesday`s bombing in Damascus and has been rescheduled for Thursday.


First Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 18:30

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