BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov discussed Sunday night the situation in Lebanon as well as the 19-month-old crisis in Syria.
According to Hariri’s press office, the two officials met in Paris at Hariri’s residence in the presence of the head of the Future Movement’s advisor for Russian affairs, Georges Shaaban.
Bogdanov, who is also President Vladimir Putin's Middle East special envoy, also discussed with Hariri the latest developments in the region.
Hariri and Russia have differing views over the conflict in Syria, where President Bashar Assad, Moscow’s main ally in the region, is battling an uprising supported by Western states and a number of Arab countries.
Russia’s stance on Syria has angered the Western, which has repeatedly asked the Syrian president to step down. Russia along with China has vetoed three attempts at the U.N. Security Council to exert further pressure on Assad.
In recent days, Russia has said it will ask the Security Council to endorse a plan aimed at ending the crisis in Syria.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday his country was willing to return to the Security Council and seek its blessing for a stalled peace plan agreed by world powers in Geneva on June 30.
The plan calls on all sides in Syria to implement a cease-fire, in line with a proposal by former U.N. chief and negotiator Kofi Annan followed by the formation a transitional government and a review to the constitution.
Hariri, however, has been a staunch critic of Assad and has asked the international community to confront the Syrian president and protect the Syrian people from what he described as the regime’s “massacres.”