Russia now says diplomat didn’t talk of Assad`s fall
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Last Updated: Friday, December 14, 2012, 14:00
Zeenews Bureau

Moscow: In a volte-face, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday denied that a top diplomat said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is losing control of his country.

On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted by two state-owned Russian news agencies as saying that "there is a trend for the government to progressively lose control over an increasing part of the territory”, adding that "an opposition victory can't be excluded”.

The United States had also hailed Bogdanov’s statement, which had been read as signalling a shift in Russia's assessment of the situation in war-torn Syria.

However, on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry insisted in a statement that Bogdanov "has not made any statements or special interviews recently" on Syria but was simply citing the stance of the Syrian Opposition while giving a speech.

The Foreign Ministry's denial comes about 22 hours after the diplomat's comments were made public.

Russia has joined China at the United Nations Security Council to veto three resolutions that would have imposed sanctions on Assad's regime over its bloody crackdown on the uprising that began in March 2011. Moscow also has continued to provide the Syrian government with weapons despite strong international protests.

Bogdanov's comments were quoted verbatim by state-owned Russian news agencies RIA Novosti and ITAR-Tass.

The US later on Thursday commended Russia for "waking up to the reality" by acknowledging the regime's impending fall.

Analysts have viewed Bogdanov's statement as Russia's attempt to begin positioning itself for Assad's eventual defeat.

(With Agency inputs)

First Published: Friday, December 14, 2012, 13:56

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