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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Western and Arab nations against arming Syrian rebels, saying this will lead to a prolonged conflict, Interfax reported.
“It’s clear as daylight that even if you arm the opposition to the teeth, it won’t defeat the Syrian army, but there will simply be a war for many, many years, there will be mutual destruction,” Lavrov said in Baku, Azerbaijan, according to the Russian news service.
Persian Gulf nations agreed last weekend in Istanbul to provide funds allowing the Syrian opposition to pay cash to fighters battling government forces. The decision came during the second “Friends of Syria” conference, where the 83 nations represented in Istanbul, including the U.S., Arab states and the European Union, recognized the opposition Syrian National Council as the leading negotiator for the Syrian people.
Russia is backing the peace plan promoted by United Nations and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan, who told the UN Security Council on April 2 that Syria had agreed by April 10 to halt troop advances, stop using heavy weapons and withdraw forces from population centers. Opposition groups say the fighting has continued unabated since Syria accepted the plan in principle on March 27. Two Syrian opposition delegations are expected in Moscow in the coming days, RIA Novosti cited Lavrov as saying.
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