MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has criticized Washington's decision to recognize Syria's main opposition group as the country's legitimate representative saying the move is a violation of earlier accords.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday the newly-formed Syrian Opposition Council "is now inclusive enough" to be granted the elevated status and deemed his move "a big step" in the international diplomatic efforts to end Syrian President Bashar Assad's embattled regime. Recognition of the council as the sole representative of Syria's diverse population brings the U.S. in line with Britain, France and several of America's Arab allies.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday the recognition contradicted earlier international agreements that foresee the "commencement of an all-Syria dialogue" that would include all sides of the conflict that killed more than 40,000 people.


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