MOSCOW, (SANA)- The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the Rome meeting of the so-called 'Friends of Syria' group and the statements issued by it, saying it further encourages the extremists to usurp power in Syria by force. The Ministry's spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich said despite the fact that "the international community has come to understand that there cannot be a military solution to the crisis in Syria," yet the statements issued in Rome "encourage, in spirit and text, the extremists to usurp power by force notwithstanding the inevitable suffering of the ordinary Syrians due to this."
Speaking in a statement on Friday, Lukashevich stressed that the urgent task for now is to immediately halt all forms of violence and move toward political dialogue in accordance with the terms of the Geneva Statement. He noted that his country believes that this is the only solution that allows the realization of the main goals of the Syrians in terms of guaranteeing a peaceful democratic progress for a unified Syria in a way that serves the interests of all its citizens without exception.
Churkin: Sending Weapons to Armed Opposition Hinders Political Dialogue
Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said that the US encourages others to send weapons to the armed opposition in Syria which has big numbers of terrorists within its ranks. In a statement published in Moscow on Friday, Churkin said that sending weapons to the armed opposition hinders the start of the political dialogue for solving the crisis. ''There is a clear division of roles…the US does not want to get its hands dirty by sending weapons directly to the gunmen as they have terrorists in their ranks, nor does it want to tarnish its reputation by making contacts with them,'' Churkin said, adding ''but at the same time the US encourages those who are providing military support to the armed groups in Syria.''
He indicated that President Bashar al-Assad announced a political program for solving the crisis in Syria, adding that the opposition should have come up with a 'response program' instead of soliciting extra support.
Putin, Obama Discuss Situation in Syria
Russia's President Vladimir Putin discussed on Friday with his US counterpart Barack Obama a number of issues, including the crisis in Syria.
Russia Today website quoted the Press Office at the Russian Kremlin as saying that the two sides stressed the importance of cooperation regarding international issues, such as Syria, Iran, North Korea, and the plans of the missile defense system. According to the statement, the Foreign Ministers of the two countries were tasked with setting new potential initiatives as to settle the crisis peacefully.