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US presence in Syria unjustified, says Russia

IANS  |  Amman 

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov condemned the US' presence in Syria saying it was an "unjustifiable occupation" at a press conference on Sunday.

Lavrov, who is on an official visit to Jordan, addressed the press with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, in the capital Amman.

"We don't know the justification of the US occupation of an area in Syria, where the Americans exchange illegal interests with extremist organisations," Lavrov said.

He was referring to the al-Tanaf area, bordering Syria, Jordan and Iraq, where US troops have been deployed during the Syrian armed conflict, Efe reported.

"The Americans say that they are prepared to discuss their presence there, but this is incorrect," Lavrov warned. "They are trying to increase their presence in Syria."

The Russian minister accused the US of "obstructing" the evacuation of the Rukban refugee camp and the return of its occupants to their homes within Syria.

The Rukban camp is located in al-Tanaf, an area controlled by US troops where some 40,000 internally displaced Syrian people live.

"We reject the US presence in that area and we see that the Rukban refugees should be allowed the right to return to their homes," Lavrov said.

However, both Lavrov and Safadi acknowledged that their countries were involved in negotiations with the US through the Amman-based coordination office with a view to evacuating the Rukban camp.

"There is dialogue with Russia and the United States to reach agreement on this issue," Jordanian said.

"According to UN reports, 95 per cent of the occupants of the Rukban camp want to return to their homes in Syria," Safadi added.

Jordan had closed the border with Syria to prevent the passage of refugees and the infiltration of terrorists following an attack on the camp in Dec. 2016.

Lavrov also urged the UN "to re-launch a settlement in Syria on the basis of the UN resolutions and outcome of the Astana and Sochi rounds," which were sponsored by Russia.

"We hope the UN will re-launch a Syrian dialogue in Geneva," the Russian minister added.

Furthermore, Lavrov said that his country supported a two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and also blasted the US administration's decisions supporting Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"We condemn the American decisions regarding the Golan Heights and Jerusalem because they are illegal decisions," he said.



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

First Published: Mon, April 08 2019. 01:14 IST