Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Tuesday with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Lavrov said that the meeting was "good," adding that Assad assured him he was "completely committed" to seeking an end to violence in Syria "regardless of where it may come from."
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According to Russian news agencies, Assad also "expressed interest" in continuing and expanding the Arab League's observer mission in Syria.
Committed? Lavrov and Assad (Photo: AFP)
Assad, he added, also plans to set a date for a referendum on a new constitution for Syria.
"President Assad informed (me) that he will meet in the coming days with the commission that prepared a draft of the new constitution," the Russian FM was quoted as saying.
Assad later told reporters that he was "ready to cooperate" with the efforts to stabilize Syria. He reiterated that "Syria has complied with the Arab League plan adopted on November 2," Syria's SANA news agency reported.
Lavrov received what has been described as "a hero's welcome" in Damascus, as thousands of Syrians took to the streets waving Russian flags and cheering.
Russia and China vetoed the latest draft of a UN Security Council resolution against Syria.
The vote was harshly criticized by the West. On Tuesday, the United States announced it was closing its embassy in Damascus. France, Britain and the Netherlands have recalled their Damascus ambassadors for consultation.
On Tuesday, six key players in the Arab world, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, announced that they have recalled their ambassadors from Syria.
The six, which are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), also expelled Syrian envoys stationed in their capitals.
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