Russia says Friends of Syria meeting is destructive

By REUTERS
April 19, 2012 14:48

MOSCOW - Russia said a meeting of foreign ministers from the Friends of Syria group in Paris on Thursday was "destructive" and could undermine UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace efforts.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is holding talks on Thursday evening in Paris with European and Arab ministers from countries that had at previous meetings discussed support for opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

Russia was invited but stayed away because the talks were "one-sided" without representation from the Syrian government, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

The goal of the meeting appeared to be not to seek dialogue among Syrians but "on the contrary, to deepen differences between the opposition and Damascus by stimulating the international isolation of the latter", he said.

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