Assad backs Russia on conflict with Georgia

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Moscow, Aug 20 (UNI) Syrian President Bashar Assad, currently on his visit to Moscow, has backed Russia on armed conflict with Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

''On this issue we fully support Russia. The war, which was unleashed by Georgia, is the culmination of attempts to encircle and isolate Russia,'' Mr Assad said in an interview to leading business daily Kommersant.

''We oppose all these attempts, as we think that this is a continuation of US Cold War-era policy. What Russia has done is to defend its legitimate interests,'' Mr Assad told the newspaper.

He said Russia was facing a situation similar to that once faced by Syria.

''Georgia started the crisis, but the West is blaming Russia.

Everywhere there is total disinformation, distortion of facts, and international attempts to isolate Russia,'' he said.

Answering a question on whether Russia could become a ''rogue state,'' Mr Assad said, ''The resolution of the important problems in Central Asia, the Caucasus and Europe is impossible without Russia. I think that after the crisis with Georgia, Russia has become only stronger.'' ''It is important that Russia takes the position of a superpower, and then all the attempts to isolate it will fail,'' he said.

UNI XC PD HT1718

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