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Lavrov: Syria Settlement Deal Collapsed Because Washington Failed to Keep Promise

Russian diplomat says 2016 peace deal would have witnessed breakthrough had the U.S. worked to separate moderate opposition from terror groups, state media reports
Lavrov: Syria Settlement Deal Collapsed Because Washington Failed to Keep Promise

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that efforts resolving the crisis in Syria would have been greatly advanced if the United States kept its promise to separate the opposition from the terrorists.

Speaking at a conference for the National Educational Youth Forum outside Moscow, Lavrov said that about a year ago Russia and the U.S were able to agree on a settlement approach in Syria, which required a commitment from the Americans to separate the “opposition” that it supports from terrorists.

Lavrov said that the political process in Syria would have progressed significantly if the Americans had carried out their promise.

“There are a lot of signs that some external players have been protecting the Nusra Front terror group, while the U.S. has been silently encouraging them,” Lavrov said, adding, “At least, I don’t remember the U.S.-led coalition, which has been conducting attacks on ISIS, carrying out any significant operations against the Nusra Front.”

He said that there are indications some external players, perhaps with implicit encouragement by the U.S., are protecting the Nusra Front, adding that there is suspicion the group will be used against the Syrian government after the defeat of ISIS.

Despite this, Lavrov described communication between Russian and U.S. diplomats and military personnel on Syria as highly professional and pragmatic.

“I’m open to any partners. The main thing is that we should not just continue talking, but start coming to agreements, the way it happened regarding the establishment of the de-escalation zone in southwestern Syria,” he said.

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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