Russia says US drive to arm Syria rebels hurts chances for peace

By REUTERS
July 24, 2013 15:41

MOSCOW - Russia accused the United States on Wednesday of stalling chances for peace in Syria by pressing ahead with plans to arm rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad.

Russia is at loggerheads over the conflict with its UN Security Council partner, the United States, where President Barack Obama can now move forward with arming rebels after easing some congressional concerns.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference that Washington's plans would undermine joint efforts to organize an international peace conference on Syria that he agreed to with his US counterpart, John Kerry, in May.

"If our American partners are now focusing on arming the opposition and are sharing plans... to strike Syrian government positions, then this, of course, runs against agreements to hold a conference," he said.

"That goes against our joint initiative."


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