WASHINGTON - The United States said on Thursday it was important to partner with Russia to help bring Syria's warring sides together for a proposed peace conference despite Moscow's financial and military backing for President Bashar Assad.
Assad told Lebanon's Al-Manar television that Russia is committed to implementing a 2010 contract for S-300 air defense missiles. A Russian defense ministry source said the missiles had not been sent yet.
"This is something that is concerning ... but at the same time we recognize that the role the Russians play here are as an important partner in helping bring the regime to the table," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
"We are not claiming to agree with the Russians on every issue, and not every issue on Syria, but we see them as an important partner on moving to a conference and moving to a political transition and there is no reason, we have to believe, that they don't want to be a partner in that," she added.