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Russia, US can do a lot more for Syrian settlement, Lavrov says

Lavrov also noted that Washington did not abandon demands for Assad’s resignation as a precondition for settlement in Syria

MOSCOW, April 5. /TASS/. Russia and the United States can do much more to eradicate terrorism in Syria and achieve a political settlement in that country compared to what they are doing now, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

"The so-called deconfliction has been established between the militaries, along with the dialogue to prevent unforeseen incidents, and that works," he said. "However, both Russia and the US could do a lot more to help solve the problem of the final eradication of terrorism in Syria, help solve the problem of meeting humanitarian needs of the entire Syrian people. Of course, [they] could do a lot to launch the political process without any preconditions, as required by the UN Security Council resolution," he said.

Russia and the US have maintained dialogue on concerted efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis for several years now. However, in spite of a number of agreements that have been reached, including the one on the disengagement of the opposition and terror groups reached in September 2016, the parties have been unable to implement them. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, that was due to the fact that Washington is consistently reluctant to honor its commitments.

Lavrov also said that Washington and its western allies did not abandon demands for President Bashar al-Assad’s resignation as a precondition for settlement in Syria.

"We can see preconditions in the US and their western allies’ position: they still believe that the Bashar al-Assad ‘regime,’ as they call it, should leave," the Russian foreign minister noted.

Washington is nursing plans to create a quasi-state on Syria’s territory, supporting deliveries of humanitarian supplies only to those opposing the Bashar al-Assad administration, Lavrov said.

The Russian foreign minister noted that Washington supports provision of humanitarian help only to the pro-opposition part of Syria’s population that the United States is "currently supporting, obviously nursing plans to create some sort of a quasi-state on Syria’s territory."

American military maintain their presence in southeastern Syria where they created a base near the community of Al Tanf. Earlier, the Russian Foreign and Defense Ministries already asked questions about what is happening on this base, noting movements of terror groups’ members through this area. The US is also controlling part of the territory in northern Syria and on the eastern Euphrates River bank where they support the Syrian Democratic Forces, which consist mainly of Kurds.