Lavrov excludes possibility of Russia giving Assad asylum

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has dismissed speculation that Russia is willing to grant Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asylum.

"Somebody has launched this hoax that Russia is willing to shelter Assad, and that Russia is willing to do so, and that Assad agrees. So let's have a go at Russia," Lavrov told reporters on Saturday.

"There is no agreement, there are no thoughts about this - it's a provocation on the part of those who want to lay all the blame for what's happening in Syria on us and on China: we are said to be blocking something," he said.

"There's one simple thing that we are blocking: an attempt to obtain permission from the UN Security Council to support one party in the internal conflict," Lavrov said.

Moscow "doesn't even have it in its thoughts" to give asylum to Assad, he said.

"Those who try to put this idea into the minds of the international community have dishonest objectives for doing so. We neither are nor were the closest friends of the Syrian regime. Its closest friends are in Europe, and if there is anyone who wants to solve this problem this way, let them think about their resources," Lavrov said.

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