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MOSCOW -- Russia is accusing the West of using blackmail to secure a new U.N. Security Council resolution that would authorize the use of force in Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday the Western threats to discontinue the 300-strong U.N. unarmed observer mission to Syria if Russia does not agree to allow the West to use force in the country amounts to blackmail.
The U.N. authorized the 90 day mission to oversee the cessation of violence and monitor implementation of the U.N. peace plan.
The team, whose mandate expires on July 20, had to withdraw from key conflict areas because of escalating fighting.
Russia said last week it will oppose any new U.N. resolution on Syria that would include the use of force.