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Russia Criticizes U.S. On Syria

25 January 2005 -- Russia's foreign minister today criticized the United States for accusing Syria of alleged ties to terrorists and allowing insurgents to cross its border into Iraq.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia is concerned about the situation surrounding Syria. The statement said that it is important "not to provoke tension in a region already overflowing with crises."

Lavrov said concrete proof of claims Syria is helping the insurgency in Iraq is needed and any problems should be resolved through negotiations.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived in Moscow yesterday and it due to meet with President Vladimir Putin later today.

The meeting has been overshadowed by reported Russian intentions to sell shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles to Syria.

Al-Assad said during a visit to Moscow State University today that the missiles would not pose a threat to Israel and would be purely for defensive purposes.


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