Syrian opposition provoked into dialogue boycott

A group of states is provoking the Syrian opposition into boycotting discussions on “quite realistic” reforms proposed by President Bashar Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.

“Why is it that in Yemen, where a serious armed conflict is taking place, all the members of the international community are reasonably trying to encourage dialogue between the authorities and the opposition, while in Syria a number of influential states are persistently provoking the opposition to boycott national dialogue proposals and to inflate confrontation?” Lavrov said at a meeting with students and professors at Moscow State University for International Relations.

He said that international partners refuse to even discuss the reforms proposed by Assad, which are “belated, but yet quite realistic.”

He reiterated that though Russia condemns violence in the country, it considers any interference into Syria’s domestic affairs inadmissible.

“We clearly stated this position, including during the UN Security Council vote on a special statement on the Syrian issue,” Lavrov said.

More than 2,200 people have been killed in the crackdown on anti-government protests in Syria since the uprising against Assad broke out in March.

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