— The Kremlin is lashing out at the United States for recognizing an opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that runs counter to previous agreements on Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Washington’s support of the opposition coalition as a legitimate representative of Syrians contradicts the agreements set at June’s Geneva Declaration.
Lavrov said he is surprised the U.S. has recognized the Syrian National Coalition as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people. He went on to say that this contradicts the agreements reached in Geneva that suggested the start of dialogue between representatives appointed by both the Syrian government and the opposition.
Lavrov said Washington’s recognition of the Syrian National Coalition shows the United States is clearly in favor of the opposition.
Related: Obama: US Now Recognizes New Syrian Opposition Coalition
He said since the coalition has been recognized as the only legitimate representative, it appears Washington is betting on the fact that the coalition will win an armed victory against President Bashar Al-Assad’s government.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced that Washington would recognize the Syrian National Coalition on Tuesday, the eve of a “Friends of Syria” conference, just as rebels intensified their push on Damascus. The conference of delegations from more than 100 Western and Arab nations on Wednesday backed the coalition.
As international backing grows for the newly formed coalition, it could intensify calls for Assad to step down. The Kremlin has consistently maintained that it is not the job of the United Nations Security Council to call for the ouster of any government.
Russia has refused to back three previous rounds of sanctions against Syria, its Middle Eastern ally, and has consistently called for dialogue between the opposition and the Syrian government.