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Russia, Syria urge US not to launch strikes
Syrian FM Walid al-Moallem meets counterpart in Moscow, urges US to convene peace conference; says Syrian president passed his thanks to Putin for support at G20 Summit

Russia and Syria urged the United States on Monday to focus on efforts to convene a peace conference and not on military action, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday after talks with Syria's foreign minister.

 

Lavrov said a US military strike on Syria could lead to the spread of terrorism, and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem accused President Barack Obama of backing terrorists, drawing comparisons with the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

 

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Syrian President Bashar Assad has passed his thanks to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for his support in talks with world leaders at the G20 summit last week, the Syrian foreign minister said in Moscow on Monday.

 

"The president asked me to pass on his thanks to Putin for his position during and after the G20 summit," al-Moallem said at the start of talks with Lavrov.

Walid al-Moallem and Sergei Lavrov (Photo: AFP) 

 

Putin in recent days has been trying to achieve a diplomatic settlement that would prevent an American strike in Syria, according to a statement by an Israeli government official Sunday. Another Israeli official said that the United States will notify Israel a few hours ahead of an attack.

 

President Obama at G20 Summit (Photo: AP)

 

The two made the remarks while the cabinet convened to discuss developments in the Syrian crisis.

 

According to an Israeli official, Putin opened intensive talks with the European Union, the Syrians and the Iranians, and is trying to create an agreement that would cancel a potential American attack, and would require Syrian President Bashar Assad to remove chemical weapons from his country.

 

AFP and Reuters contributed to this report

 

 

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