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Russia says 'Friends of Syria' stance destructive

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia accused Western and Gulf Arab countries that oppose Syria's president of being "destructive" on Thursday after they agreed to increase support for Bashar al-Assad's opponents.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the "Friends of Syria" countries meeting in London had agreed to increase support for moderate elements of the Syrian opposition.

"Unlike some of our Western partners, meeting in London, we work with all Syrian sides, not just with one as if supporting it against the other," Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

"To us, that approach is prejudiced and destructive," Bogdanov was quoted as saying.

Veto-wielding permanent U.N. Security Council member Russia has given Assad crucial support during the three-year-old conflict in Syria, blocking Western and Arab efforts to push him from power.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140515/russia-says-friends-syria-stance-destructive