Russia rejects ``joke`` of giving asylum to Assad

Russia has previously rejected the idea of hosting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Last Updated: Jul 06, 2012, 14:22 PM IST

Moscow: Russia has said that it has dismissed the idea by Western partners to offer asylum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad calling it a ``joke``.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel first gave the idea during her talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Berlin on June 01.

"Our side thought this was a joke and responded with a joke, how about you, the Germans, take Assad instead," News 24 quoted Lavrov as saying during a joint press appearance with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle.

Lavrov said he was ``quite surprised`` when the idea was raised again during a meeting of Western and regional powers on the crisis in Geneva on Saturday.

"While discussing the subject of Syria, I heard them say they were convinced that we would take him and thus resolve all the problems of the Syrian people," he said.

Russia has previously rejected the idea of hosting Assad while refusing to say whether it had actually been approached on the subject by the West.