Russia Warns Against Arming Syrian Opposition
(MOSCOW) — Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that he plans to meet with representatives from both sides of the conflict in Syria over the coming days to discuss the implementation of Kofi Annan’s peace plan.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced via Twitter that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem will visit Moscow on April 10 for talks, just a week before Moscow hosts delegations from the Syrian opposition.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to Baku, Azerbaijan, on Wednesday, Lavrov slammed last weekend’s “Friends of Syria” meeting, where U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged more U.S. aid for the opposition and joined other countries in recognizing them as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.
Lavrov said the conference “undermines” efforts to end violence in Syria by ensuring that the opposition does not agree to negotiations.
Other countries at the conference, namely Saudi Arabia and Qatar, encouraged the idea of arming the Syrian opposition.
Lavrov on Wednesday said even if outsiders arm the opposition, they will never be able to defeat the Syrian army. He said that even if they were “armed to the teeth” it would only fuel the bloody conflict and would not bring Bashar al-Assad down.
“It is clear as day that even if the Syrian opposition is armed to the teeth, it will not be able to defeat the government’s army,” Lavrov said, according to Interfax.
“Instead, there will be carnage that lasts many, many years – mutual destruction,” he added.
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