Russia: Syria opposition too divided

2013-05-22 22:08
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Moscow - Russia said on Wednesday that the Syrian opposition had not yet shown enough commitment to efforts, to arrange a peace conference with President Bashar Assad's government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised the Syrian government's response to joint US-Russian efforts to seek a resolution to the more than two-year-old conflict but said the opposition was too divided to agree on its participation.

"We value the constructive reaction of the Syrian leadership to this proposal," Lavrov said at talks with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in Moscow.

"We also hope that a constructive reaction from various opposition groups... will follow. So far, however, the news is not hopeful."

Lavrov called on countries with "real influence over the irreconcilable opposition" to help bring them to the talks.

Hampering peace efforts

He also repeated Moscow's belief that some of Assad's foes were using violence in order to hamper peace efforts, referring to the recent abduction of Mekdad's father.

"We are seeing attempts by various forces, at any time when a ray of hope appears, to take actions to undermine movement forward," Lavrov said.

Mekdad said the "coming together" of Russia and the US could help resolve the conflict that has killed at least 80 000 people, but he accused rebels of undermining peace efforts.

He said Syria's leadership would "strive for a peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis. Unfortunately, such an approach is not finding an appropriate answer”.

No date has been set for a peace conference, and neither diplomat gave any details on its possible timing on Wednesday.

Read more on:    bashar assad  |  sergei lavrov  |  syria  |  russia  |  syria conflict

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