Syria: Lavrov cites concerns over Al Qaeda-linked groups

Ahead of Saturday's Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul

17 April, 19:53

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA, APRIL 17 - Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on Wednesday that he is ''very concerned'' over the role that jihadist groups linked to Al Qaeda play in the anti-Assad uprising in Syria. Lavrov, who took part in a Turkey-Russia cooperation summit in Istanbul and had talks with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, on the issue of Syria, warned against greater external military involvement in the Syrian crisis, saying it would strengthen the jihadist groups further. Last week Jahbat Al Nusra publicly stated their affiliation with Al Qaeda. Jihadist groups are believed to have been behind the kidnapping of four Italian journalists in early April in northern Syria.

    On Saturday a meeting will be held in Istanbul of the Friends of Syria group, which is made up of 10 Arab and Western nations, including Italy, that support the uprising. U.S.

    Secretary of State John Kerry will also be taking part. Lavrov once again criticized the ''negative'' role played by the Friends of Syria group on Wednesday.

    ''Right now we see this process is making a negative contribution to the [Geneva] decisions,'' Lavrov told reporters after meeting with Davutoglu, referring to a 2012 accord among world powers in Geneva aimed at solving the Syria conflict through talks involving all parties. He said that dialogue is impossible ''when one party is isolated in any mechanism set up to deal with a conflict''. (ANSAmed).

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