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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US Stance on Syria Undermines Geneva Agreements Russia

RIA Novosti

21:31 02/11/2012 MOSCOW, November 2 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow believes the US position regarding settlement of the Syrian conflict runs counter to the agreements reached in Geneva, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

“US representatives say they do not intend to wait for Russia and China to change their positions. So it is explicitly given to understand that Washington sees the Syrian crisis being settled exclusively on its own terms,” ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.

“At the same time, those representatives say the US will continue efforts to pressure the Syrian government, including through toughening sanctions. Direct instructions are voiced on what the Syrian opposition should do to form ‘a government in exile,’ as well as who should enter such a government,” Lukashevich said.

“By this, opposition figures are in fact encouraged to maintain an uncompromising line aimed at toppling the regime in Damascus,” he said. “We believe this is out of line with the agreements worked out at the June 30 meeting of the Action Group on Syria in Geneva.”

There has been no immediate reaction from the US State Department.

At a meeting on Syria in Geneva on June 30, foreign ministers from UN Security Council permanent member states and from countries neighboring Syria proposed establishing a transitional Syrian government that would comprise both the Syrian authorities and opposition forces, but incessant fighting in Syria has made it impossible to launch a dialogue.

The Syrian conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives, according to various Syrian opposition groups. The UN puts the death toll at 20,000-30,000 people.

The West is pushing for President Bashar Assad’s ouster while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in Syria, saying that the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed. Veto-wielding Moscow and Beijing have three times blocked sanctions resolutions on Syria.

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