Rome, Feb 6 (IANS/RIA Novosti) No prospects can be seen yet of a settlement to the Syrian crisis, a Russian minister has said.
"Unfortunately, no prospects are seen and one of the reasons is our western partners do not properly work with the (Syrian) opposition," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said in Rome, where he is on a visit.
"The task is to achieve political settlement of the Syrian crisis, to persuade both sides to sit down to the negotiating table and start searching for ways to solve the problems their country is facing, and ultimately start determining its future," Gatilov said.
Russia has faced strong international criticism over its refusal to back UN sanctions against Syria, its last ally in the Arab world, over what it called the pro-rebel bias of some resolutions proposed by western nations.
Moscow denies it is backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and says it is concerned the president's enforced departure would only worsen the conflict.
At least 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict since March 2011.