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Putin says Russia does not want to see 'chaos' in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a joint news conference with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso following a European Union-Russia summit in Brussels December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS: Russia does not want "chaos" in Syria, President Vladimir Putin said Friday, calling for political talks between all parties to take the war-torn country towards a democratic regime.

 

"We would like to see order restored in Syria. We want to see it become a democratic regime based on the will of the people," Putin said at a news conference winding up an EU-Russia summit, the 30th such bi-annual event.

 

"We are interested in this because this is all very close to our borders. We really would not like to see any potential changes in Syria to lead to the chaos we are witnessing in other countries of the region."

 

For the second time in two days, Putin denied propping up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, saying "we are not the current Syrian leadership's lawyers."

 

"Everyone is interested in an end to the bloodshed," he added.

 

In Moscow the previous day Putin said Russia was not concerned about Assad's fate but "we understand that the family has been in power for 40 years and there is a need for change."

 

In Brussels, Putin insisted on the need for all parties to negotiate a way forward to a political solution.

 

"In order to reach long-term agreements, you must first agree to what Syria looks like in the future: how all the rights of all the country's ethnic groups are respected. And only then do you assume the implementation of this plan," he said.

 

The basis for negotiations, he said, was reached in talks in Geneva on December 9 between the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

 

The UN said all three believed "a political process to end the crisis in Syria was necessary and still possible."

 

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