February 17, 2014 14:15
U.S. should deal with Syrian authorities directly - Lavrov
MOSCOW. Feb 17 (Interfax) - Instead of asking Russia to increase pressure on the Syrian authorities, Washington itself should contact officials in Damascus directly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"Regarding the claims that the U.S. will be increasing pressure on Damascus, if we are talking about political pressure, we have always called on the United States to work with the Syrian authorities directly," he told a press conference after talks with his Eritrean counterpart Osman Saleh on Monday.
"I said this to (U.S. Secretary of State) John Kerry too, including in reply to his repeated calls to influence the regime so it is more flexible in terms of certain things," the Russian foreign minister said.
Moscow is in contact with the Syrian authorities virtually on a daily basis anyway, and the statistics show the biggest number of Syria's problems coming not from Bashar Assad's regime but from terrorist and extremist groups, Lavrov said.
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