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Syrian government, Russia criticize Britain's calls against Assad

(Xinhua)

12:34, November 22, 2011

DAMASCUS, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday called on Syrian opposition to "unite" against President Bashar al-Assad, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov chided such calls from Western countries as provocation.

"It is important for opposition groups to be able to put aside their own differences and come to a united view of the way forward, " Hague made the remarks after meeting with Syrian opposition representatives in London on Monday.

However, he said Britain was not ready to recognize the Syrian opposition as the country's legitimate government.

"We are not at the point of a formal recognition, partly because there is not a single council as there was in Libya. They are not in control of territory in Syria as the council was in Libya and the international community has not reached that point," Hague said.

Meanwhile, Lavrov said that "so far, when the Arab League (AL) urges to stop the violence and start dialogues, Western countries and some countries in the region call for the opposition to avoid such dialogues with Bashar al-Assad's regime."

Abuses over international law and the UN authority cannot be allowed, Lavrov added.

The remarks of Hague and Lavrov came after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's confirmation that he would press on with a crackdown against what he called armed groups targeting civilians, policemen, army personnel in his country despite increased pressure from the AL.

"The conflict will continue and the pressure to subjugate Syria will continue," Assad told the Britain's Sunday Times newspaper. " However, I assure you that Syria will not bow down and that it will continue to resist the pressure being imposed on it," he said.

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