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Moscow concerned over reports US intends to increase military aid to right gunmen in Syria

Moscow is concerned over the reports suggesting that the US administration intends to increase the provision of military aid to the "right" gunmen in the Syrian armed opposition, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

"The media reports that the US administration intends to increase the provision of military aid to the "right" gunmen in the ranks of the Syrian armed opposition cause serious concern," the ministry said. "At the same time, there are many publications about the recognition of the facts of supplies of military products to the opposition members, although not that long ago, Washington referred only to the provision of non-lethal means to the opponents of Bashar Assad in aid."

"We are certain that the implementation of such plans would result in the further escalation of the murderous conflict in Syria," the ministry stressed.

Lack of alternative to political settlement of crisis

Earlier on Friday, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in a telephone conversation confirmed lack of an alternative to a political settlement of the inter-Syrian conflict.

"The parties discussed the situation in Syria," the press service said. "Putin and Erdogan confirmed it was unacceptable to have whatever contacts with radical groups, especially those connected with al Qaeda and it was necessary to neutralize them."

Besides, the parties "stressed the lack of an alternative to settling by political means the inter-Syrian conflict," the press service said.

Russian observers to monitor Syrian elections

Representatives of the Russian Central Elections Commission (CEC) will be sent as observers to Syrian presidential elections which are due on June 3.

CEC member Anton Lopatin and deputy head of the foreign relations department of the CEC staff Igor Yevlanov will monitor the presidential elections at Syria's invitation, the CEC press service reported.

The CEC delegation will operate in a group of observers from both houses of Russian parliament.

"As Syria finds a mission of Russian international observers important, a meeting is planned with participants of the election process and election organizers during their stay in Syria," the press service said.

Presidential elections in Syria

Three candidates are running in presidential elections, namely incumbent President Bashar Assad, lawmaker from the Popular Front for Change and Liberation bloc Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar and liberally minded businessman and former state minister who heads now the National Initiative for Reforms Hassan al-Nouri.

On Thursday, May 28, Syrian citizens living abroad voted at embassies in a total of 38 countries, including a polling station at the country's embassy in Moscow. However, Syrian largest communities in France, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain and the United States were stripped of an opportunity to vote at elections over a ban imposed by authorities of these countries. Meanwhile, Syrian citizens working in the Gulf States where embassies of the country are closed do not have an opportunity to exercise their constitutional suffrage right.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 30May14]

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