US suspends Syria negotiations with Russia

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with his US counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou on September 5, 2016. (ALEXEI DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States on Monday suspended Syria-related negotiations with Russia. The defunct negotiations were focused on reviving Syria’s failed ceasefire and setting up a joint military command.

“This is not a decision that was taken lightly,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said, accusing Russia and its Syrian ally of stepping up attacks on civilian areas.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest added: “Everybody’s patience with Russia has run out.”

“There is nothing more for the US and Russia to talk about with regard to trying to reach an agreement that would reduce the levels of violence inside of Syria. And that’s tragic,” Earnest said.

Kirby said the Russian and American militaries will continue to use a communications channel to ensure their forces do not get in each other’s way during “counterterrorism operations in Syria.”

But the United States is calling back home personnel who had been sent to Geneva in order to set up a “Joint Implementation Center.” Russia and the US will not  coordinated their campaigns in the foreseeable future.

US diplomats will also suspend discussions with Russia on reviving the September ceasefire reached between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Under that protocol, a truce came into effect on September 12, but it collapsed within a week amid bitter recriminations and a surge of fighting.

Washington has accused Moscow of failing to rein in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military and abetting his strikes on civilian targets.

Moscow, meanwhile, says the United States failed to separate ‘moderate’ anti-Assad rebels from militants linked to Al-Qaeda.

“Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments, including its obligations under international humanitarian law,” Kirby said. “[Russia was] either unwilling or unable to ensure Syrian regime adherence to the arrangements to which Moscow agreed.”

“Rather, Russia and the Syrian regime have chosen to pursue a military course, inconsistent with the cessation of hostilities, as demonstrated by their intensified attacks against civilian areas,” Kirby added.

Kirby accused Moscow and Damascus of “targeting critical infrastructure such as hospitals, and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in need.”

He repeated Washington’s damning charge that Russia and the regime were responsible for the September 19 attack on a United Nations aid convoy in northern Syria.

Source: AFP 

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