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Britain, France Skeptical Of Russia's Syria Initiative


French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe (left) calls Syria's talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) "manipulation."

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe (left) calls Syria's talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) "manipulation."

France and Britain have expressed doubts about Russian efforts to mediate in the Syrian crisis.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said he does not believe any commitments announced by the Syrian regime, including those made on February 7 to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Damascus.

Juppe called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's talks with Lavrov "a manipulation."

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he has "very little confidence" in Russia's initiative.

After his talks in Damascus, Lavrov said Assad was commited to ending the violence.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, said that the international community "must not behave like a bull in a china shop" by interfering in Syria.

In another development, Turkey has announced plans for an international conference on Syria "as soon as possible."

A host of major European countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council on February 7 announced plans to withdraw their ambassadors from Damascus.

The United Nations' human rights chief, Navi Pillay, has called for urgent international action to protect Syrian civilians from a "massacre" perpetrated by government troops as they continue to shell residential neighborhoods in the city of Homs.

Compiled from agency reports

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