July 20 - Russian foreign ministry spokesman rejects criticism over its stance on Syria as U.N. envoy Kofi Annan meets with General Robert Mood in Geneva. Sunita Rappai reports.
Russia issues a strongly worded attack on international criticism of its stance on Syria. Foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said repeated criticism of Russia and China's vetoes of UN Security council resolutions was misguided and dangerous, after both countries vetoed another resolution on Thursday. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN ALEXANDER LUKASHEVICH, SAYING: "In essence, the authors of the resolution draft again proposed that the U.N. Security Council approve the opposition in their military struggle against the Syrian government. This is the path to fanning the flames of civil war in the country." He said the resolution was drafted despite objections from Russia and that an ultimatum demanding a Syrian government ceasefire within 10 days was unrealistic. As the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, Lukashevich also blamed Western allies for escalating the crisis by encouraging rebels to attack instead of negotiating a political settlement. Meanwhile, US special envoy Kofi Annan met with Major-General Robert Mood in Geneva. The mandate for the 90-day UN ceasefire monitoring mission headed by Mood is due to end on Friday - unless renenwed by the Security Council. Sunita Rappai Reuters