Russia warns Syrian violence could spread to Lebanon

By REUTERS
May 23, 2012 19:10

 
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MOSCOW - Russia said on Wednesday that a spillover of Syria's conflict into Lebanon could "end very badly" and suggested some Western states were playing a double game by calling for peace but supporting rebels seeking President Bashar Assad's ouster.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Western and Islamic countries should increase pressure on Assad's armed opponents to stop attacks and try to avert what he said were deliberate efforts to sow discord between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.

Russia, which has protected Assad by vetoing UN Security Council resolutions condemning his government's 14-month-old crackdown but supported UN-backed peace efforts, has long warned that the bloodshed in Syria could spread further.

"There is now ... a real threat of the conflict spilling over into Lebanon, where - given the history and ethnic and religious make-up of the population, and the principles on which the Lebanese state is based - it could end very badly," he said.

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