DAMASCUS, November 11. /TASS/. The US refusal to participate in an international conference on assistance in the return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons demonstrates double standards regarding Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in his greetings to the conference participants read out on Wednesday by Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev.
Russia’s top diplomat noted that the refusal of "a known circle of countries led by the US" to participate in the humanitarian forum is inexplicable and pointed out their attempts to prevent the conference from taking place. The minister reiterated that the conference is conducted in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254. "We consider this approach of our opponents yet another evidence of double standards concerning Syria which they attempt to make a hostage to mercenary geopolitical interests," he noted.
"At the same time, it is not surprising that this stance is taken precisely by those states that directly fanned the flames of the ‘Syrian fire,’ and supported and continue to support anti-governmental forces, including terrorists. It is precisely them who carry the main responsibility for the tragedy of millions of Syrian citizens who were forced to abandon their native land," the top diplomat stressed.
The international conference on refugees and internally displaced persons opened in Damascus on Wednesday with the participation of delegations from 27 countries, including Russia, China, Iran, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman and Pakistan, as well as representatives of the UN and 12 non-profit organizations. The forum intends to work out a program of practical steps on the return of over 6.5 mln Syrian refugees. The Russian delegation which includes specialists of over 30 ministries and agencies is headed by Lavrentyev.