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Russia not to take part in "Friends of Syria" meeting: FM

(Xinhua)

08:11, February 22, 2012

MOSCOW, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Russia has declined an invitation to take part in a meeting of the "Friends of Syria" group scheduled for Friday, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

"The invitation to the meeting of the "Friends of Syria" group in Tunisia has been received. However, there are more questions than articulate answers," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandr Lukashevich said.

He stressed Russia saw no possibility of participating in the gathering, because Moscow has not been informed about the meeting's agenda and its participants.

"Most importantly, the real aim of the meeting is not clear. According to reports, the separate opposition groups have been invited to Tunisia but no representatives of the Syrian government. That means, the interests of the majority of the Syrian population which supports the authorities, will not be represented," Lukashevich said.

Russia believes the meeting would unlikely facilitate the start of the inter-Syria dialogue on ways to overcome the crisis, the spokesman said.

Lukashevich said Moscow had an impression that the "Friends of Syria" meeting resembles "the Libya Contact Group," which has the aim to support only one side of the internal conflict.

"According to reports, the final document of the meeting has already been drafted by a narrow group of countries while other participants would be asked just to rubber-stamp it," Lukashevich said.

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