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Russia criticizes 'Friends of Syria'

MOSCOW  - Russia on Monday chided Western and Arab nations that set "ultimatums and artificial deadlines" for ending the bloodshed in Syria and said it was not their place to judge peace envoy Kofi Annan's ceasefire plan.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's remarks, quoted by Interfax news agency, were aimed at the "Friends of Syria" which said in Istanbul on Sunday that Syrian President Bashar Assad did not have an open-ended opportunity to meet his commitments to Annan."Kofi Annan has a mandate from the (UN) Secretary General and the Security Council. The Security Council will judge who should implement his proposals, and how," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying during a visit to Armenia.
"Ultimatums and artificial deadlines rarely help the matter," he was quoted as telling a news conference.
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