Russia satisfied with NATO assurance of non-involement in Syria

2012-12-13 12:12:18 GMT2012-12-13 20:12:18(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MOSCOW, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- NATO has assured Moscow the Western alliance was not planning military intervention in Syria, a senior Russian military official said Thursday.

"This assurance of the head of the NATO Military Committee has satisfied Russian side. It means, if NATO would further lean to this position, the bloc will not start military operations against Syria regardless of the developments there and the Libyan scenario will not be repeated in Syria," head of the Russian Defense Ministry's Department for International Military Cooperation Sergei Koshelev told reporters.

Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Knud Bartles met the Commander of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov here Thursday.

According to Bartles, NATO shares Moscow's concerns over the situation in Syria and plans to stay in close contact with Russia over developments there.

Koshelev said Bartles' words were "in sharp contrast to remarks of the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other NATO officials."

During the talks, Gerasimov raised the issue of the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles in Turkey near its border with Syria.

"The situation in Syria is deteriorating. Nevertheless, NATO deploys anti-aircraft systems in Turkey. We firmly believe the settlement of the conflict in Syria is possible only by the two confronting sides, not with third party involvement or with military force application," Gerasimov said.

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