‘Friends of Syria’ offers more support to Syrian opposition

London : Foreign ministers from countries of the “London 11” Core Group of the “Friends of Syria” have agreed to offer more support to the Syrian opposition National Coalition, the ministers said in a joint communique Thursday.

“We have agreed unanimously to take further steps together through a coordinated strategy to increase our support for the moderate opposition National Coalition, its Supreme Military Council and associated moderate armed groups,” the ministers said.

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British Foreign Secretary William Hague hosted the “Friends of Syria” London meeting Thursday, attended by 11 foreign ministers including US Secretary of State John Kerry and Syrian Opposition Leader Ahmad Jarba.

The ministers also agreed to counter the rising forces of extremism, complete the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons, and step up efforts to deliver humanitarian aid across borders.

“We have directed our officials to implement a Core Group action plan.”

The ministers also denounced the Syrian government’s plan to hold presidential elections on June 3, accusing the elections as “illegitimate”.

“Under rules set by the regime, such elections will be devoid of political participation of millions of Syrians. We call on the entire international community to reject these illegitimate elections, as the Arab League, United Nations, United States of America, Turkey and the European Union have already done.”

Russia said Thursday the Syrian presidential elections could be a step toward settlement of that country’s enduring crisis, and called for timely removal of chemical weapons.

The campaign for the Syrian presidential elections officially kicked off Sunday.

The multi-candidate poll is a result of the recent 2012 constitution that puts an end to Syria’s one candidate referendums.