MOSCOW, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Russia is convinced that the use of force against Syria would only worsen the situation in the Middle East country, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Friday.
"Obviously, imposing restrictive or forcible measures will not help, but only worsen the already complicated situation in this country," Gatilov told the Interfax news agency.
He stressed that Moscow rejects any additional pressure and sanctions or the use of force against Syria, urging all countries with influence over both the Syrian government and opposition to join efforts to facilitate a political settlement to the current crisis in line with UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan.
Meanwhile, Gatilov said that Russia supports Annan's proposal of setting up an international contact group to bring together key global and regional players to help put an early end to the 16- month Syrian crisis.
The senior diplomat noted that such a group should include members of the UN Security Council, as well as regional states, " primarily those bordering Syria and having their own interests in this region."
A country like Iran "has a full right" to participate in the process, said Gatilov. "Iran's participation could play a constructive role in searching for solutions to the Syrian conflict," he asserted.
Also on Friday, Gatilov and Mikhail Bogdanov, also Russian deputy foreign minister, held talks with visiting U.S. Special Envoy for the Middle East Fred Hof on the Syrian situation.
According to the Russian foreign ministry, the two sides had "a thorough exchange of opinions on methods of promoting a peaceful resolution in Syria."
After the talks, the U.S. embassy in Moscow said that both the United States and Russia support Annan's peace plan and are prepared for further coordination on the Syria issue.