MOSCOW, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Russia and the United States shared common goals on solving the Syrian crisis but differed on the future of President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
Ahead of his participation at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, Lavrov told local media Moscow and Washington did not "contradict each other in principle" on Syria.
Both of the two countries wanted to see a peaceful transition via intra-Syria negotiations while "respecting the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the country," RIA Novosti news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.
However, the two sides held different views on whether President Assad should go and how, said the senior Russian diplomat.
Lavrov called for the crisis to be solved at the negotiating table by the Syrian people, calling the intention to dictate the future of Syria by outsiders as "counterproductive."
The Russian minister is expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of the APEC summit.
Lavrov said Saturday that the Western approach of demanding external interference and the resignation of Assad as a precondition of negotiations was rather unrealistic.
He reiterated Russia's stance, saying Moscow "was not backing any regime or any individuals" in the Syrian crisis.
Meanwhile, those "players" who spurred the opposition to fight the Syrian authorities did not care about the interests of the Syrian people and were guided by their own "geopolitical considerations," said Lavrov.