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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Syrian Diplomat Expulsions Counterproductive - Moscow

RIA Novosti

16:54 30/05/2012

MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia believes the expulsion of Syrian ambassadors from a number of Western countries is counterproductive, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

“We can only comment on this decision…in the context of international efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis,” said Alexander Lukashevich.

“From this perspective, the expulsion of Syrian ambassadors from the capitals of leading Western states is, in our view, a counterproductive move.”

The United States, Spain, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, France, Australia, Germany, Japan and other countries announced the expulsion of the Syrian ambassadors to their countries on Tuesday, in protest at last weekend's massacre in the town of Houla for which they blame Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces.

The killings on Friday in Houla in Homs province were one of the deadliest single events in the 15-month-old uprising against President Assad's rule. The UN said 49 children and 34 women were among the 108 people killed.

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, claimed on Tuesday that “certain countries” were attempting to use the deaths in Houla as a “pretext” for a military operation against Assad’s forces, which have been armed in part by Russia. Lavrov also accused the head of the foreign-based opposition, Syrian National Council, of attempting to “incite a civil war” in the Middle East country.

Over 9,000 people have been killed in clashes between the government and opposition forces in Syria since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011, according to UN estimates.

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