U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that he hoped the U.S. and Russia could find “common ground” on Syria as they shared “some very significant common interests”.
Welcoming Mr. Kerry, Mr. Putin did not touch on Syria but ahead of the talks, Moscow set a tough tone, warning against foreign intervention in Syria.
Hours before Mr. Kerry arrived on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry expressed “grave concern” over what it called “signs of global public opinion being prepared for possible armed intervention” in Syria.
Citing U.N. investigator Carla Del Ponte’s view that chemical weapons in Syria appear to have been used by rebels, rather than the government, Moscow called on the West to “stop politicising this extremely serious issue and whipping up of an anti-Syrian atmosphere.”
Moscow said Israeli air raids on Syria were also a source of “particular alarm”.
Mr. Putin held telephone talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to discuss the situation.
“The further escalation of armed confrontation increases the risk of creating new areas of tension, in addition to Syria, in Lebanon, and destabilising the so-far relatively calm atmosphere on the Lebanese-Israeli border,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement.
“Internationalisation of the extremely dangerous and destructive internal conflict in Syria must not be permitted.”