MOSCOW: Russia on Friday rejected a proposal to set up no-fly zones to help civilians flee fighting in Syria's border areas after the United States said it was ready to consider the move.
"You have to solve citizen security issues using methods put in practice by international humanitarian law," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Sky News Arabia in an interview to be aired in full on Saturday and released to Russian media.
"But if you try to create no-fly zones and safety zones for military purposes by citing an international crisis -- this is unacceptable," he said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said following talks last weekend with her Turkish counterpart that the issue of imposing safety and no-fly zones around ravaged cities such as Aleppo "need greater in-depth analysis."
She added that the two countries -- both spearheading international calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step down -- agreed "to have a very intensive operational planning" discussions during which they could deliberate further moves.
Russia on Friday was forced to call off a meeting of an international action group on the Syria conflict planned for later in the day after Western and Arab nations said they would not attend.
Moscow's UN envoy had earlier invited permanent members of the Security Council and other envoys to discuss a possible call on Moscow's ally Assad and the Syrian opposition to halt the violence by a certain specific date.
But diplomats said that Western powers and Arab nations told Moscow they viewed the meeting as futile at this late stage in the 17-month conflict. (AFP)