Russia condemns Syria attacks, sees foreign hand

MOSCOW Thu May 10, 2012 11:07am EDT

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia condemned twin suicide bombings in Syria on Thursday, accusing unspecified foreign countries of encouraging such violence and saying Moscow would not yield to pressure to change its stance on a resolution to the conflict.

In a meeting with the Syrian ambassador to Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov "decisively condemned the terrorist acts that have taken place in Syria in recent days", the ministry said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went further, saying foreign states shared the blame, Russian news agencies reported.

Two suicide car bombers killed 55 people and wounded 372 in Damascus on Thursday, Syrian state media said - the deadliest attacks in the capital since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began 14 months ago.

"Some of our foreign partners are doing practical things so that the situation in Syria explodes in literal and figurative sense. I mean those explosions," state-run RIA quoted Lavrov as saying in response to a question about the bombings at a press conference in Beijing.

He did not specify any countries, referring only to nations involved in trying to secure a fragile ceasefire that has failed to halt bloodshed pitting Assad's security forces against peaceful protesters and various groups of armed insurgents.

The comments were in line with previous Russian complaints that Western nations had failed to properly evaluate the threat posed by Syrian rebels and to exert pressure on them to lay down their arms. Western leaders say Assad's military has been primarily responsible for the bloodshed.

"Leaders of the international community have influence over them (armed groups). They should use this influence for good, not evil," Lavrov was quoted by RIA and Interfax as saying.

Moscow has said foreign interference is unacceptable and called for political dialogue between the Syrian government and its opponents without preconditions, such as Assad's exit from power.

"There are some people who want to exert pressure on us to reverse our stance, but we will not yield to this pressure," Lavrov said, speaking during at a press conference after meeting Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on a visit to Beijing.

(Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Steve Gutterman and Mark Heinrich)

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