Syrian Opposition impeding peace process: Russia

Moscow, May 31 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia has blamed the Syrian National Coalition of attempting to disrupt resolution of the Syrian crisis and is pushing for foreign military intervention in the country.

"It looks like the National Coalition and especially its regional sponsors are doing their best to disrupt the start of the political process and are trying to induce foreign intervention in Syria by all means, including the unscrupulous manipulation of public opinion," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.

After days of fierce debate about its participation in a peace conference proposed by Russia and the US in early May, the coalition announced Wednesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, along with all heads of his regime's special services and high-ranking military officers, must resign before the opposition joins any peace talks.

It also demanded that Iran and Lebanon's Shiite group Hezbollah halt their "invasion of Syria".

On Thursday the coalition said that it "won't take part in any peace talks as long as killings (in Syria) continue".

After holding talks with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez, Lavrov expressed hope that "realistically minded forces" in the US and Europe would "be able to rein in those who connive at such an absolutely inadmissible and aggressive approach by the National Coalition".

Lavrov criticised the coalition as an organisation with "no constructive (political) platform", whose members are engaged in a bitter rivalry for leadership posts.

"The only thing that unites them is the demand for Bashar Assad's immediate resignation. But it's clear to everyone, including our Western partners, that an approach like that is unrealistic," Lavrov said.

The Syrian government has already signaled its "principal consent" to take part in the conference.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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