Wednesday Mar 28, 201201:45 AM GMT
Russia not to attend 2nd Friends of Syria conference
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich (file photo)
Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:17AM
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Russia has announced that it will not attend the second “Friends of Syria” conference which will be held in Turkey on April 1.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters in Moscow that the conference does not seek a settlement in Syria and is setting the stage for intervention.

“Its participants are not looking for dialogue that could put an end to the conflict, on the contrary, it may pave the way for external interference,” Lukashevich said.

On February 24, Tunisia hosted the first “Friends of Syria” conference, during which Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal described arming Syrian rebels as “an excellent idea…because they have to protect themselves.”

Russia also boycotted the first meeting.

On Tuesday, Damascus accepted a six-point plan by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to end the unrest in Syria.

Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told reporters at the conclusion of Nuclear Security Summit 2012 in Seoul on Tuesday that it is “shortsighted” to believe that the stepping down of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will resolve the country’s crisis. He added that Annan’s mission to Syria is the “last chance” to prevent civil war in the country.

Annan's proposals include a ceasefire, access for humanitarian aid agencies as well as political dialog between Damascus and the opposition.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011.


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