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Russia questions “artificial” delay in Syrian peace talks
June 5, 2016, 6:22 am

 A child lights a candle for the peace of Syria in a church in Damascus, capital of Syria, on Jan. 6, 2016 [Xinhua]

A child lights a candle for the peace of Syria in a church in Damascus, capital of Syria, on Jan. 6, 2016 [Xinhua]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in a phone conversation with his US counterpart John Kerry, has expressed concern over “artificial” delays in the Syrian peace talks.

The UN-backed parties have not set a date for the resumption of the peace talks after the High Negotiations Committee suspended its participation over the intensifying of regime air strikes in recent weeks.

“They have discussed the situation in Syria in development of the telephone conversation they had a day earlier,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “Besides stressing the urgent task to separate the “moderate” opposition from Jabhat Al-Nusra, as the U.S. has promised earlier, Lavrov has expressed concern of the attempts to delay resuming of political talks for various artificial reasons, which was seen clearly during the UN Security Council briefing on Syria on June 3,” said a Russian Foreign Ministry statement.

The phone call was initiated by the US side.

Lavrov’s comments came amid a major Russian-backed offensive against the de-facto home of the Islamic State that aided the Syrian army’s push into Raqqa province on Saturday.

The Syrian army had made territorial gains and inflicted heavy casualties on the militants, state media reports said.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday at least 26 Islamic States militants had been killed along with nine from the Syrian and allied forces.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 militants have begun an offensive against Syrian army positions southwest of Aleppo, the Russian ceasefire monitoring centre in Syria said in a statement on Saturday.

The chief peace negotiator of Syria’s main opposition bloc said last week that he was resigning over the failure of the UN-backed Geneva peace talks to bring a political settlement to the Syria crisis.


TBP and Agencies