Russia’s foreign minister has censured the US Department of State officials for their ‘peculiar comment’ on the results of a trilateral meeting over Syria in Geneva.
The trilateral meeting on Wednesday was held with the participation of UN - Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and representatives from Russia and the United States. It served as a preparatory move to pave the way for the Geneva 2 talks on the issue of Syria. During a Thursday press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “I have heard that officials from the US Department of State have given a very peculiar comment on the results of yesterday’s meeting in Geneva between Russia, US, and UN. ” “In particular, the State Department representative stated that Russia, the United States and the United Nations agree that the goal of the new conference in Geneva must be the forming of a new transitional government in Syria. This really matches with what was written down last year, ” he said.
“But, if the reports that I have received are true, the State Department went on to add that this should be a transitional government to which the current authorities in Damascus would hand over all their powers. If this was really said by the State Department, this is a very strong distortion of what the talks were about, ” the Russian foreign minister added.
He made the remarks in response to an earlier statement by Jennifer Psaki, a spokesperson for the US Department of State, where she reportedly claimed that participants in the preparatory meeting had agreed that the forthcoming talks on Syria should focus on the formation of a transitional government, to which the current administration should give up all powers. Lavrov further reiterated that Moscow would continue to push for Iran’s participation in the upcoming Geneva meeting despite opposition from some Western states. Meanwhile, Brahimi has expressed hope that the Geneva conference would convene in July, as the preparatory meeting failed to set a date.