Russia to host meeting with Syria opposition council

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Russia will receive a delegation from Syria's opposition council in the foreign ministry in October, ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Wednesday.

"In October we intend to receive in Moscow two Syrian opposition delegations: one from the domestic wing of the opposition based in Damascus, and the second from those who declared the so-called national council," Lukashevich told journalists in televised remarks.

Although officially invited to attend a public function, they "will be received at the foreign ministry", Lukashevich said without revealing the exact date of the visit.

Russia together with China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution earlier Wednesday which threatened action against Syria's deadly crackdown on protests, infuriating the United States and other nations such as France.

The document called for "targeted measures" if President Bashar al-Assad refrains from carrying out reforms and continues the crackdown on the opposition, which has left at least 2,700 dead according to UN estimates.

Russia had proposed an alternative resolution, which condemns the opposition violence as well as that of the government and calls for dialogue to end the crisis, although Western powers refused to back it.

"Attempts to turn what happened with Security Council decisions on Libya into some kind of model for the western coalition and NATO... of reacting to crises: that is an absolutely unacceptable model for Russia," Lukashevich said.

Russia and China previously abstained on the UN Security Council resolution that paved the way for Western intervention in Libya, but later criticised the scope of the air raids and casualties in the conflict aimed to remove Moamer Kadhafi from power.

© 2011 AFP

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