17 Jul 2012

Russia unmoved on Syria

6:06 am on 17 July 2012

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has reiterated Russia's refusal to change its policy on Syria despite Western pressure.

Led by the United States, the West has been urging support for United Nations sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad.

But Mr Lavrov says it's unrealistic to expect Russia to persuade Mr Assad to step down, because a significant part of the Syrian population still supports him.

Russia has strong ties with Syria and has vetoed foreign intervention calls.

Mr Lavrov said it was "not right" to say that pressure should only be brought on the government of President Assad and not the opposition to end the conflict.