Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday night along with other top Lebanese leaders to conclude his three-day visit to the country.
The Russian ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zaspikin, also took part in the meeting, which dealt with the unstable situation in Lebanon and Syria, according to a report in the Lebanese Daily Star.
Hezbollah’s Al-Manar website reported that Ammar Mousawi, the group’s official responsible for international relations, was also in attendance.
The London-based daily Al-Hayat reported on Sunday that Bogdanov expressed reservations to Nasrallah about its fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, and called for separating Lebanon from the war in Syria.
The minister tried to gather support for the Geneva plan agreed upon in June 2012, which calls for a transitional government in Syria, according to the AP. Bogdanov claimed that this was the only way to end the conflict. The plan called for an end to the fighting, but did not call for Assad to step down.
Bogdanov also said in Lebanon that rumors regarding the use of chemical weapons should not be a pretext for invading the country, according to a report by the Al- Arabiya news site on Saturday.
“If there is serious evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, it should be presented immediately and not concealed,” said Bogdanov. “We must check the information immediately and in conformity with international criteria and not use it to achieve other objectives. It must not be a pretext for an intervention in Syria,” he added according to the report.
Bogdanov is also set to visit Jordan as part of his regional tour.
Last week, the US administration seemed to come around to claims by Israel, the UK, and France that there is evidence the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people. The US is looking into the matter more deeply before coming to a definitive conclusion.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/International/Russian-deputy-FM-meets-with-Nasrallah-311361