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AFP

Russia "deeply regrets" election of Syrian rebel PM

Russia's foreign ministry said Tuesday that it deeply regretted the election of Syria's rebel prime minister Ghassan Hitto, fearing that his appointment would heighten instability in the war-torn country.

 

"In Moscow we learned of this step by the National Coalition with deep regret," the ministry said in a comment published on its website and attributed to its official spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

 

"The decision taken in Istanbul can only deepen the state of internal instability in Syria. It increases the possibility of the country's falling apart, leaving by the wayside not only those who support the acting legal government but also those opposition structures that are not part of the Coalition," the ministry said.

 

Hitto was chosen early Tuesday in Istanbul by a majority of the main opposition National Coalition members, after hours of closed-door consultations.

 

The 50-year-old will be tasked with setting up an interim government which would be based in rebel-held territory in Syria.

 

Russia has vetoed UN Security Council sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, insisting that the conflict must be solved internally through talks between the Syrian government and the opposition.

In Moscow we learned of this step by the National Coalition with deep regret.