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Russian top diplomat points to attempts to disrupt Syrian ceasefire

April 13, 20:33 UTC+3

The Syrian top diplomat says Washington’s minor role in the Astana and Geneva processes indicates its unwillingness to assist in resolving the crisis

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© Artyom Korotaev/TASS

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Attempts to disrupt the ceasefire in Syria still continue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem on Thursday.

"Not everybody is happy about the progress that we ensured together with our Turkish and Iranian counterparts, as well as with the Syrian government and Kazakhstan, while the United States participated as an observer at the Astana talks," Lavrov said. "Attempts are being made to disrupt the ceasefire which was agreed on Astana and welcomed by the United Nations Security Council."

Lavrov has said that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and he agreed at their recent meeting that new missile attacks on Syria would be unacceptable.

"I would like to stress that the US missile attack on the Shayrat air base was actually a provocation," the Russian top diplomat said. "The US Secretary of State and I thoroughly discussed the situation and agreed that this should not happen again," Lavrov added.

Western hysteria over alleged chemical attack should not hamper efforts to solve the crisis, he added.  "Against the background of the western hysteria, it is particularly important to resist provocations and attempts to hamper efforts aimed at solving solve the crisis that are being made by participants in the Astana and Geneva processes," he said.

Russia believes that Damascus made a right decision to invite experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to investigate into the Idlib incident.

"This draft resolution was not adopted by the UN Security Council, as we prevented it," Lavrov said. "We will insist that a decision be made on conducting an impartial investigation both at the attack site and the air base that was mentioned before. I believe it was a right and responsible step on the part of the Syrian government to invite the OPCW experts to conduct an investigation."

US strikes on Syria

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said  purpose of the US missile attacks on an airfield in Syria last week was aimed at stalling the peace process within the country after six years of the bloody conflict.

"I view the US missile strike as an aggression, as it took place without an approval from the United Nations and without any investigation on behalf of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which could have identified those responsible behind the use of chemical weapons," Muallem said.

"We see that after Trump entered office, Washington’s role in the Astana and Geneva processes was minimized," he said. "It means, they don’t want the peace process to be a success."

"The strike pursued several targets," he said. "And one of them was to stall the peace process (in Syria)."

Damascus highly values Moscow’s position on the US aggression, he said.

"I would like to commend the position of the Russian government, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian people concerning the US aggression," Muallem said. "This aggression was a blatant violation of international law and the sovereignty of a United Nations member state."

"Yesterday, at the United Nations Security Council’s meeting, we saw a theatrical event when the western countries raced to attack the Syrian political regime," he went on to say. "After that, Russia used its veto power which was a timely step to prevent a new aggression against Syria." "This is why I would like to thank Russia for preventing attempts to use the UN Security Council to carry out an aggression against Syria. Russia has done it for the eighth time," the Syrian top diplomat added. "However, the question is if there will be new attempts to carry out aggression against Syria. I think, new attempts will be made."

Washington’s role in peace process

Muallem noted Washington’s minor role in the Astana and Geneva processes indicates its unwillingness to assist in resolving the crisis.

"We see that after Trump entered office, Washington’s role in the Astana and Geneva processes was minimized," he said. "It means, they don’t want the peace process to be a success."

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