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Russia says it will not allow Syria no-fly zones

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov looks on after a meeting with his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino in Moscow, June 15, 2013. REUTERS/S
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov looks on after a meeting with his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino in Moscow, June 15, 2013. REUTERS/S

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia, a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, will not permit no-fly zones to be imposed over Syria, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Monday.

"I think we fundamentally will not allow this scenario," Lukashevich told a news briefing, adding that calls for a no-fly zone showed disrespect for international law.

Lukashevich spoke before planned talks between President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a G8 summit in Northern Ireland which were expected to focus on the conflict in Syria that has killed at least 93,000 people.

Russia and the United States are trying to bring representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his foes to the negotiating table, but Moscow has criticized U.S. plans to arm rebel forces and to consider imposing a no-fly zone.

"All these maneuvers about no-fly zones and humanitarian corridors are a direct consequence of a lack of respect for international law," Lukashevich said.

He said Russia did not want a scenario in Syria that resembled the events in Libya after the imposition of a no-fly zone which enabled NATO aircraft to help rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska,; Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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