News ID: 8701
Publish Date: 06 July 2012 - 12:18
German Chancellor Angela Merkel regrets that China and Russia have boycotted the third so-called “Friends of Syria Group” meeting.
"It is not a good sign when two powers do not take part in such conferences," Merkel said at a press conference on Thursday after meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, AFP reported.

"But on the other hand we cannot always hinge everything on these countries -- that means it is better when all participate, but I think we must go step-by-step here and keep trying to involve others," she added.

Earlier in the day, Chinese Foreign Minister Liu Weimin said that Beijing would not attend the July 6 meeting of the "Friends of Syria Group” in Paris after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov boycotted the meeting on Monday.

Russia and China have not participated in any of the group’s meetings as they say the West is seeking to distort an agreement reached among international diplomats in Geneva last weekend on a plan for a political transition to end the conflict in Syria.

"Since the formation of the Syria Action Group on June 30 in Geneva, other forums to discuss resolution of the conflict [in Syria] are no longer needed…The Group of Friends from its very inception has had the goal of supporting only one, foreign-based portion of the Syrian opposition," Lavrov said on Monday.

The United States, Britain, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are the leading members of the group.

The second "Friends of Syria” meeting was held in Turkey in April following an earlier gathering in Tunisia in February.

Meanwhile, Lebanon is seeking ways to reduce the tensions in its eastern neighboring country. Last month, supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad clashed with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades in northern Lebanon.

Syria has been the scene of violence by armed groups since March 2011. The violence has claimed the lives of hundreds of people, including many security forces.

Damascus blames "outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, asserting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

The West and the Syrian opposition, however, accuse the government of killing protesters.



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