Middle East

Syria's Assad: Russia restoring balance to world stage

Syria's President Bashar Assad (R) receives a gift from a Russian parliamentary delegation member during a meeting in Damascus March 11, 2014, in this handout released by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA

DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose embattled regime relies on key support from Russia, praised Moscow on Tuesday for restoring balance to international relations, state media reported.

"Russia has reestablished balance in international relations, after long years of hegemony" by the United States, SANA quoted Assad as saying as he received a Russian parliamentary delegation.

He described Moscow's role as "essential and vital," and expressed "the admiration of the Syrian people for Russia's positions."

Assad accused the United States and other Western governments of "acting to destabilise countries whose policies do not coincide with their own."

Russia is one of the Assad government's main allies, providing it with diplomatic cover and continued weapons supplies as it battles an insurgency about to enter its fourth year.

SANA said the Russian delegation informed Assad he had been accepted into the Russian Academy of Sciences for having "strengthened Syrian-Russian relations."

More than 140,000 people have died in Syria since the conflict began in 2011.





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