Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said progress had been made at the summit toward convening the Syria peace conference, adopting a "comprehensive, serious and concrete document."

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin blocked any mention of the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a final G8 summit communique, said a top Russian diplomat.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, on Tuesday that Russia had insisted no demands for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad be included in the G8 final document on the Syrian conflict.

“Apart from being completely unacceptable for Russia, this would be deeply wrong, harmful and would totally destroy the political balance that is being established so painstakingly” to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table, Mr. Ryabkov was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

Earlier, British sources at the summit said Prime Minister David Cameron had sought to isolate Russia suggesting that seven Western members of the G8 could sign a communique calling for the ouster of the Syrian leader if Mr. Putin refused to join in.

“We cannot dictate to participants of the future [Geneva-2] conference… how it is going to end, otherwise it makes no sense to even start it,” said Mr. Ryabkov.

“G7 plus one”

Mr .Ryabkov lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who called the Group of Eight “G7 plus one”, meaning that Russia’s positions were too far apart from the other members of the exclusive club.

Moscow’s stance on resolving the Syrian crisis was completely in line with other G8 members, said Mr. Ryabkov.

He said progress had been made at the G8 summit toward convening the Syria peace conference, adopting a “comprehensive, serious and concrete document.”

“We have not papered over our differences, but have managed to expand the area of agreement,” the Russian diplomat stated.

At the same time, he said Russia was going to issue a separate statement on the use of chemical weapons in Syria as an attachment to the G8 joint declaration. The statement would clarify the Russian position on several aspects of the G8 document, including the investigation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Mr. Ryabkov dismissed as unproven, Western claims that government forces in Syria had used chemical weapons against the armed Opposition, and independent international experts should investigate these claims.

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