Lavrov stunned by Syrian opposition leader's refusal to meet with Russian diplomats

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said he was stunned by National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces leader Moaz al-Khatib's refusal to meet with Russian diplomats.

"Frankly speaking, it was quite a surprise to me to read his statement that he was willing to meet with me only if we change our position and if we apologize for our position publicly," Lavrov said at a press conference following negotiations with UN and Arab League Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Moscow on Saturday.

Russia earlier contacted Syrian opposition members through the Russian embassy to Egypt, Lavrov said. "Understanding that the matter is too serious, we wanted and want to accurately convey our position to the National Coalition leader," he said.

Russia has already expressed its willingness to meet with al-Khatib in Moscow. "He preferred some neutral capital. We are prepared for this as well," Lavrov said.

"I understand that Mr. Khatib is probably not very well-versed in politics. He can probably only benefit from learning our position not from media reports," he said.

"If he strives to be a credible politician, he should understand that it is in his best interests to hear our analysis directly from us," he said.

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