Istanbul summit against peaceful settlement to Syria conflict: Russia

Russia says objectives of the recent anti-Damascus summit of the so-called “Friends of Syria” group in Turkey contradicts the issue of finding a peaceful solution to the year-long unrest in Syria.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a Monday statement that “promises and intentions to deliver direct military and logistical support to the armed… opposition that were voiced in Istanbul unquestionably contradict the goals of a peaceful settlement to the civil conflict in Syria.”

The Russian statement was issued one day after the meeting of the “Friends of Syria” was held in the Turkish city of Istanbul on April 1.

Foreign ministers from about 70 Western and Arab countries attended the Sunday meeting. The first meeting was held in Tunisia on February 24.

Participants in the Istanbul meeting said in a statement that the conference recognizes the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) as the “legitimate representative” of the C. However, Damascus condemned the conference, describing it as a gathering of the “enemies of Syria.”

The Syrian National Council also announced that armed groups fighting against the Syrian government will be “paid salaries.”

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on March 6 that the Syrian people have “proven their capacity to defend the nation and to build a new Syria through their determination to pursue reforms along with the fight against foreign-backed terrorism.”

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