Russia says UN sabotaged Syrian peace negotiations

Moscow, Nov 22 (IANS) Russia on Tuesday accused the United Nations of sabotaging peace negotiations between the Syrian regime and rebels.

Addressing a press conference in Minsk, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura had been sabotaging Resolution 2254, which stipulates the organisation of peace talks, Efe news agency reported.

He said this left the Syrian government no choice but to accept the patriotic opposition’s initiative and organise Syrian dialogue itself.

According to Lavrov, Moscow would support the celebration of such talks in Damascus and opposition groups both in Syria and in exile were seriously studying the possibility.

He said even the groups closest to Saudi Arabia were aware that refusing to negotiate until the beleaguered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stepped down, was a dead end.

At the end of April, the High Negotiation Committee — the main Syrian opposition representative in Geneva — abandoned the peace talks until Moscow and Damascus ceased all military operations in Aleppo.

Russian aviation suspended its aerial attacks against Aleppo over a month ago, but last week launched a mass attack against Islamist positions in Syria.