Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem to travel to Moscow for talks on Friday: Russia

October 24, 2016 8:05 pm

File photo shows Syrian Foreign Minister (Photo by AFP)

Russian officials have announced that they will host Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in the coming days for talks on the situation in the Arab country.
“Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem’s visit to Moscow and his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are expected on October 28,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Monday.
The visit is the first by a Syrian official to Moscow since the West intensified its rhetoric earlier this month about the role of Russia in the deteriorating situation in northern , where the government, backed by Moscow, is trying to retake a key part of the city of Aleppo from militants.
The West accuses Moscow of committing war crimes by carrying out bombings in Aleppo. Russia has denied the allegations and has vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution proposed by France for halting attacks on militant-held parts of the city.
Moscow and Damascus agreed to a recent brief ceasefire to allow civilians and militants not affiliated to terrorist groups to quit eastern Aleppo.
However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday that Russia was not considering an extension to the agreement.
For more than a year, Russia has been carrying out airstrikes against militant positions in Syria at the official request of the Damascus government. Moscow keeps defending its military assistance to Syria in the fight against militants, saying the attacks are also meant to prevent the return of thousands of Russian nationals who have been fighting along the ranks of militant groups in Syria over the past five years.
Russia has also accused the West of obstructing a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Syria, saying militant groups backed by the United States and its regional allies have repeatedly violated initiatives for the cessation of hostilities in the Arab country. 
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