|Russia announced Tuesday that it will not participate in “Friends of Syria” conference that will take place in Tunisia Friday.|
In a statement it issued Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that “the meeting was called for the purpose of supporting one side against another in an internal conflict.”
“We cannot accept the offer to attend this meeting," it added, pointing out that as representatives of the so-called Syrian National Council and other Syrian opposition groups were invited, Syrian government representatives did not receive any invitation, which would make the meeting a talking shop of like-minded parties, and this shall make little impact on the situation on the ground.
"This means that the interests of the majority of the Syrian population, which supports the authorities, will not be represented," the statement indicated.
In parallel, Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told Russian state television that “if this scenario is played out, there will inevitably be even greater bloodshed, a civil war and the possible breakup of Syria with grave regional consequences."
For its part, China also refused Tuesday to commit to attending the meeting and said it was studying "the function, mechanism and other aspects of the meeting."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a visit to Mexico, considered that “Syria was increasingly under pressure.”
She told reporters that the “Friends of Syria conference will demonstrate that Al-Assad's regime is increasingly isolated and that the brave Syrian people need our support and solidarity."
“The meeting will send a clear message to Russia, China and others who are still unsure about how to handle the increasing violence but are up until now, unfortunately, making the wrong choices," she added.
| Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour assured Tuesday that Lebanon will commit to its decision to disassociate itself from the developments in Syria and from all the Arab decisions against the neighboring country, and will not attend the “Friends of Syria” conference in Tunisia.|
In a statement on Tuesday, Mansour stressed that “in accordance with our disassociation policy, we will not attend the Friends of Syria conference on the 24th of this month.”
Mansour indicated that he received an invitation from his Tunisian counterpart Rafiq Abdul Salam, and stated that “our decision not to interfere in the Syrian internal affairs is clear”.
Moreover, the Lebanese Foreign Minister invited “those who want to interfere in Syria to state what they really want from it,” emphasizing that the disassociation policy is Lebanon’s policy and not his own, and that it achieves Lebanon’s higher interest.
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