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'Friends of Syria' group encourages extremists: Russia

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Fri, Mar 01, 2013 16:50 hrs

Moscow, Mar 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A resolution adopted by the Friends of Syria Group in Rome encourages extremists there to seize power by force, Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Friday.

The US, the European Union and Arab officials met in Rome Thursday and pledged more assistance to the Syrian opposition fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

They also pledged to recognise the National Coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

"There is a general understanding within the international community that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis," Lukashevich said in a statement.

"Meanwhile, judging by incoming reports, the decisions made in Rome, as well as the statements that were made there, both in letter and in spirit encourage extremists to seize power by force, regardless of the inevitable suffering of ordinary Syrians."

The spokesman did not elaborate.

The Rome statement praised the opposition National Coalition for its reform efforts, urged Assad's regime to end "indiscriminate bombardments against populated areas", and deplored "the unabated arms supply to the regime by third countries".

The US pledged $60 million in "non-lethal" assistance for the Syrian political opposition.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday his country would send the Syrian opposition an additional $60 million in non-lethal aid, but still refused to supply weapons and sophisticated military supplies the rebels have said they need.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier Moscow's position on Syria stems from its concern for the Syrian people, and not the fate of President Assad.

The US has called for Assad to step down, but Russia says it is concerned that the Syrian president's forced departure would make the conflict worse.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

pm/vt




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