US 'bombed' UN peace talks on Syria: Lavrov

AFP , Friday 20 Apr 2018

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a joint news conference with U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura following their meeting in Moscow, Russia April 20, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)

The United States and its allies "bombed" UN-backed peace talks aimed at ending the war in Syria when they ordered strikes on the country this month, Russia's foreign minister said Friday.

The US, France and Britain "on 14 April bombed not only made-up chemical sites in Syria, but also bombed the (UN-backed peace) talks in Geneva," Sergei Lavrov said following a meeting in Moscow with UN envoy Staffan de Mistura.

"We came very close to a relaunching of the Geneva process with a real dialogue between Syrians, mainly on the question of constitutional reform," Lavrov added.

De Mistura, who also met Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu, said the UN's priority was to "lower the temperature" following the strikes.

"I'm very pleased to hear... that in spite of what happened last week and it is still very recent, there is a strong commitment from the Russian Federation to push for the political process," he said.

"It is important we turn the page on this alleged chemical attack because we need to go back to the basics," he added.

The US France and Britain carried out air strikes on what they said were Assad's chemical weapons installations in response to an alleged chemical weapon attack.

Moscow, an ally of the Syrian regime, has long claimed an alleged attack in Douma was "staged" by Syrian rebels and the civil defence organisation, the White Helmets.

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