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Lavrov:US, allies reducing effectiveness of Syria truce deal

Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:37PM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) shows the way to Sam Nunn, co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, on February 24, 2016. ©Reuters

Russia’s foreign minister has criticized the US and its allies, accusing them of undermining a recently brokered ceasefire agreement in the conflict-ridden Arab country.

Sergei Lavrov made the remarks in Moscow on Wednesday at a meeting with visiting Sam Nunn, co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a charitable organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical arms.

"As soon as the presidents of Russia and the US approved the ceasefire initiative in Syria, voices from Washington and the capitals of US allies began expressing doubts as to the viability of the deal,” Lavrov said.

The top Russian diplomat noted that the doubts about the truce deal “sound like calls to war and not to peace."

On Monday, Washington and Moscow said the ceasefire has been planned to take effect in Syria on February 27. The Syrian government said the following day that it accepts the terms of the truce deal on condition that military efforts against terrorist Daesh and Nusra Front groups continue.

Nunn, for his part, hailed the recent Russia-US cooperation on cessation of hostilities in Syria as “very important,” highlighting the need for “a good faith” by Washington, Moscow and working groups “to really be able to properly execute the agreement.”

Civilians walk past the rubble of damaged buildings in the militant held southern Syrian town of Busra al-Sham on February 23, 2016. ©Reuters

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which started in March 2011, has claimed the lives of some 470,000 people and left 1.9 million injured, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research.

Since September 2014, the US, along with some of its allies, has been conducting air raids against what are said to be Daesh positions in Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.

On the contrary, Russia's anti-terror campaign in Syria began last September upon a request from Damascus.

Over the past few weeks, Syrian government forces, backed by Russia’s air cover, have managed to retake major positions from the foreign-backed militants.


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