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Italy calls for dialogue with Russia on Syria


Brussels, April 16 (IANS/AKI) Italy's on Monday urged Western allies, especially the US, to keep channels of communication open with Syria's top ally Russia, calling "a leading player" in the war-wracked Middle Eastern country.

"It is vitally important to keep in negotiations led by the and in this context we must also keep dialogue open with the main players in the (Syrian) crisis, first and foremost Russia," told a summit here.

Only a can end the more than seven year long conflict in between rebels and forces allied with Bashar al-Assad, he said at the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers.

"It is incumbent upon us to recall that there is no military solution to the war in and that we must have a political strategy," said, adding that the EU can play "an important role" in a Syrian peace deal within the framework of the UN-led peace negotiations being held in

"We reaffirm our support for (UN to Syria) Staffan De Mistura and the centrality of the process, within which can play an important role," Alfano said.

The donor conference on slated for April 24-25 in Brussels, which over 70 delegations are expected to attend, offers the EU a chance to take "political centre-stage" in the Syrian peace process, he said.

The administration of US was on Monday planning to slap sanctions on Russian companies believed to be "dealing with equipment related to Assad and use," US to the UN, Nikki Haley, told TV network on Sunday.

Haley's announcement came after the US, UK and bombed sites in Syria on Saturday following a suspected attack on the rebel enclave of Douma, outside on April 7 that allegedly killed dozens of people.

Western allies believe and possibly Sarin were used in the attack and that the Syrian was responsible. Syria vehemently denies this.

The planned US sanctions underline the deterioration in relations between and the West amid the tit-for-tat expulsions of scores of diplomats and the closing of consulates over in Britain last month of a former Russian and his daughter with a nerve agent.

The US also imposed sanctions in March against Russian companies and individuals for allegedly intervening in the 2016 and for staging cyberattacks against Western facilities.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 16 2018. 21:34 IST