Syria Conference Being Undermined: Russian Minister

by
Reuters
Efforts to convene an international peace conference on Syria are being undermined by actions involving or backed by Western countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Sergei Lavrov

Efforts to convene an international peace conference on Syria are being undermined by actions involving or backed by Western countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

The comments underlined the problems faced by Russia and the United States as they try to arrange a conference on ending bloodshed in Syria that Lavrov agreed to work towards with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this month.

"A whole range of actions that have been undertaken, not without the participation and not without the support of our Western partners including the United States and France ... are serving to undermine the idea of calling a conference," Russian news agencies quoted him as saying.

He gave few details but referred to a U.N. General Assembly which passed what he called a "unilateral and arrogant" resolution this month that praised the Syrian opposition and condemned President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Moscow has been one of Assad's most powerful allies and protected him from three consecutive U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at pressuring him to end violence in a conflict that has killed more than 80,000 people.

"We need to decide whether we want the conference. Then there should be no actions objectively aimed at undermining this idea, or if we're overwhelmed by such actions, then we should not talk about this conference," Lavrov said.