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Withdrawal of armed groups from Syrian cities is a hard task – Lavrov

July 01, 2012, 0:39 UTC+3

“Concrete coordinated actions aimed at pulling out armed people from cities should be agreed,” the Russian foreign minister said

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GENEVA, June 30 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the Geneva international conference on Syria on Saturday that it would be hard to pull out armed groups from Syrian cities, given the radicalization of the situation from both sides.

Lavrov said that the conference’s final document was calling on the government and opposition simultaneously to end violence and start cooperation with the United Nations observer mission in Syria.

“Concrete coordinated actions aimed at pulling out armed people from cities should be agreed. We had a detailed discussion of that matter with Kofi Annan and General Mood. This is a serious and difficult task given a degree of radicalization of the situation from both sides,” the Russian foreign minister said.

“We are going to help fulfilling this task in every possible way. There can be no single recipe for every city or populated locality in Syria. Some cities are controlled by the government while others are in the hands of the opposition,” Lavrov went on to say. He said that the Syrian opposition was far from being unified. That is why various opposition groups are holding control of various cities.

“Nobody knows whether they have a single command. Most likely, they are not subordinate to any single command,” the Russian foreign minister said.

“That is why a huge burden had been shouldered on a relatively small United Nations mission,” Lavrov said, adding that the mission should definitely be increased in number.

“We will wait for recommendations from Kofi Annan and General Mood on how to reduce tensions in each particular populated locality. We will continue, as before, to honestly comply with the demand of the U.N. Security Council resolution that the plan should be fulfilled. We will continue acting in close contact with the government and all opposition groups,” Lavrov emphasized.

“I hope that our partners who have much more influence on the opposition than we do are going to act the same way,” the Russian foreign minister said.



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