Russia says some using Syria peace talks to seek 'regime change'
MOSCOW - Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the creation of a transitional governing body must not be the sole focus of peace talks in Geneva. AFP PhotoRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused backers of the Syrian opposition on Friday of seeking "regime change" and said the creation of a transitional governing body must not be the sole focus of peace talks in Geneva.
Lavrov said there were ongoing attempts to derail the talks and suggested the opposition and its backers were to blame, saying warnings that the negotiations could not go on forever were neither constructive nor logical after only two rounds.
EU seeking 'sphere of influence' in Ukraine
Lavrov has also accused the European Union of seeking to create a "sphere of influence" by pressing Ukraine to choose closer ties with the bloc at the expense of relations with Russia.
Lavrov, speaking next to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, issued a warning to the West against interfering in the crisis, saying Ukrainians had to be allowed to resolve matters themselves.
"I fully agree with Frank-Walter that there should be no spheres of influence. But dragging Ukraine to one side, telling it that it needs to choose 'either or', either with the EU or with Russia, (the European Union) is in fact trying to create such a sphere of influence," he told a joint news conference.
"That is obvious and no nice words can change that."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to meet Ukrainian opposition leaders Vitaly Klitschko and Arseny Yatsenyuk in Berlin next Tuesday, according to Bild newspaper.