30 Jul 2018 18:05

U.S.' refusal to take part in 10th int'l meeting on Syria in Sochi unfortunate - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. July 30 (Interfax) - The United States' refusal to attend the international meeting on Syria in Sochi is unfortunate and indicates Washington's desire to downplay the importance of "the Astana format," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

"Such a reaction is cause for regret, given Washington's constant reassurances of its readiness to assist with the launch of a political process in Syria. The current meeting in Sochi is focusing precisely on this task," the ministry said.

Behind the U.S.' unwillingness to send its representatives to Sochi is a "desire to lower the importance of the Astana format and discredit the implementation of those intermediary efforts in Syrian affairs that Washington is unable to put under its control," it said.

"The Astana platform is by no means an alternative to Geneva, but is meant to really help progress on this track in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254," the ministry said.

"The U.S.' calls to put the Geneva platform at the forefront, including under the pretext of supporting the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, look quite ludicrous, given the UN official's personal, lively involvement in the Sochi event," it said.