Russia is ready to meet with heads of the Syrian opposition offices, which are planned to be set up in Washington and New York, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said.
The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces plans to open an office close to UN headquarters in New York that would be headed by Dr. Najib Ghadban, a professor at the University of Arkansas. The mooted office in Washington will be headed by real state trader from Texas Ubab Halil. They are both of Syrian origin.
Churkin said Russia has nothing against making contacts with them, but Moscow will resist any attempts should “their presence here, next to the United Nations, will be used to score political points from the view of their international status.”
“We are absolutely against it as it may obstruct the establishment of a political dialogue [in Syria],” Churkin said,
Syria has been locked in an increasingly bloody civil war since demonstrations broke out against President Assad in March 2011. According to UN estimates, at least 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Russia has faced strong international criticism over its refusal to back UN sanctions against Syria, its last ally in the Arab world, over what it called the pro-rebel bias of some resolutions proposed by western nations.
Moscow denies it is backing President Bashar al-Assad and says it is concerned the Syrian president’s enforced departure would only worsen the conflict.