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Russia, EU divided on Syria crisis


08:46, November 18, 2011

MOSCOW, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday held talks with visiting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on the situation in Syria, and the two sides were divided on how to settle the crisis in the Middle East country.

After the meeting, Ashton urged the international community to keep pressure on the Syrian government so as to stop the violence in the country.

"The future of Syria now depends on our ability to keep pressure on the government to stop the violence, to listen to the people," she told a press conference in Moscow.

However, Lavrov told reporters after the meeting that external forces are seeking to deteriorate the situation in Syria in order to justify their interferences in Syria's internal political affairs.

"Russia would not like at all to see the situation in Syria take the same turn as in Libya," he said.

The minister also claimed that weapons were increasingly pouring into Syria from its neighboring countries.

"It's an open secret that groups of armed people with purposes very different from reforms and democracy began to play a more active role in the events along with peaceful demonstrators, whose aspirations and demands we understand and support," Lavrov said.

"These people are continuing getting more weapons from across the border," Lavrov added.

He called on the Syrian opposition not to boycott reforms in the country, taking note of the opposition forces' recent attack on the Syrian government's building.

"No doubt, if the Syrian opposition continues pursuing such methods, they will bring about a full-scale civil war," Lavrov warned.

"Violence in Syria should be renounced by all the parties in the conflict," he stressed.

Russia has insisted on seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria, which has left the country in turmoil and bloodshed for over half a year.

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