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Russia slams potential no-fly zone in Syria


12:24, June 16, 2013

MOSCOW, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Creating a no-fly zone over Syria contravenes international law, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday.

"You don't have to be a great expert to realize that it will be a violation of international law," Lavrov said after talks with Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino.

"We hope our U.S. partners will direct all their practical activities into implementing a joint U.S.-Russia initiative to convene a conference devoted to improving the situation in Syria," he added.

The creation of a no-fly zone in Syria through the deployment of batteries of Patriot air defense systems and F-16 warplanes in Jordan "is being discussed seriously," Lavrov said citing media reports.

The minister called an earlier U.S. claim on chemical weapon usage by the Syrian army "unconvincing" as Russia had not received guarantees that the samples met the criteria of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Moreover, it was "senseless" for the government to use the weapon while gaining ground against the opposition, Lavrov said.

Russia and the United States agreed last month to convene an international conference on Syria, the Geneva-II, but no date or list of participants has been set so far.

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