Russia says United Nations should stay in Syria

MOSCOW - Russia told the United States on Thursday that it favors a continued United Nations presence in Syria, saying a UN exit from the Middle Eastern nation would have "serious negative consequences."
In a meeting with U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov emphasized "the need to maintain the UN presence in Syria," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The United States has said unarmed UN observers should not remain in Syria beyond an Aug. 19 deadline, but that Washington is willing to consider an alternative UN presence in the country to deal with the deadly 17-month conflict.
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