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UK top diplomat's cancelled visit points to communications breakdown on Syria

April 09, 2017, 12:55 UTC+3

On Saturday, the UK’s Foreign Office announced Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cancelled his visit to Russia

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MOSCOW, April 9. /TASS/. The cancellation of the visit of the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to Russia demonstrates a lack of understanding of knowledge of what happens in Syria, but Moscow needs a dialogue with London not more than it needs it, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

"Judging by the statement made by Boris Johnson, he now has different priorities, namely - discussions with G7 counterparts of the situation in Syria and "Russian support for Bashar Assad". Evident is the fundamental misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of the events in Syria, Russia's efforts to settle that crisis, and the general objectives of diplomacy," the Russian ministry said in a statement.

During Johnson’s visit to Moscow, the parties planned to have "detailed and open discussion of all the complex of international problems" and to discuss relations between Moscow and London, "which the British side has pushed into a deadlock," the ministry said.

"The decision to cancel Boris Johnson's visit to Moscow once again proves doubts about added value from negotiations with the UK, as on most current problems they do not have own positions or realistic influence on development of international affairs, as it remains "in the shade" of its strategic partners. We do not think we need a dialogue with London more than it needs it," the Foreign Ministry said.

Cancelled visit

On Saturday, the UK’s Foreign Office announced Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cancelled his visit to Russia. "Developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally. My priority is now to continue contact with the US and others in the run up to the G7 meeting on 10-11 April - to build coordinated international support for a ceasefire on the ground and an intensified political process," Johnson said.

The news agency Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that an air strike by Syrian or Russian jets had allegedly killed 58 people, including 11 children, and wounded 300. As Reuters said, the air strike could have been carried out by the Syrian governmental forces in a suspected gas attack.

On Thursday night, the US forces fired 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) on a Syrian military air base located in the Homs Governorate. The attack came as a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Idlib Governorate on April 4. The US authorities believe that the airstrike on Idlib was launched from that air base.

Syria’s opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) has called on the United States and its allies to take further steps to ban Syrian warplanes’ flights.

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