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Russia snubs 2nd Friends of Syria meeting

(Xinhua)

14:43, March 28, 2012

MOSCOW, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Russia had refused to attend the second "Friends of Syria" meeting because the group was paving the way for foreign intervention, the Foreign Ministry said here Tuesday.

Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Russia's reason for turning down the latest invitation had not changed from when it boycotted the group's first meeting in February.

"Such events, unfortunately, have a unilateral political bias," Lukashevich said, adding attendees were more likely to set the stage for foreign intervention than seek an inter-Syrian dialogue to end the conflict

Moscow was convinced the upcoming meeting would do nothing to encourage the Syrian opposition to pursue a dialogue with the government, he said.

The meeting is scheduled to be held in Istanbul in April. The first conference was held in Tunis on Feb. 24 and brought together top officials from Western and Arab countries.

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