Russia calls for respect of Syria's territorial integrity

FM lashes out at US for supporting Kurdish separatists

21 February, 17:43

    (ANSAmed) - MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 21 - The situation in the Kurdish-majority area of Afrin in Syria's north can be resolved ''only by respecting Syria's sovereignty'' and its ''territorial integrity'', Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted by Interfax as saying in Ljubljana on Wednesday.

    He was said to have added that ''all foreign actors should realize the need to engage in dialogue with Damascus''. Lavrov then urged Damascus to ''speak to the representatives of all ethnic and confessional groups including Kurds'', noting that ''the Syrian government should be guided by the principle of sovereignty over all its territory''. Lavrov also said that US support for Kurdish autonomy in northern Syria had not helped towards finding a solution for the conflict. ''The solution to the conflict,'' the Russian foreign minister said, ''has not been facilitated by the fact that part of the Kurdish population in northern Syria has declared its autonomy a while ago'', nor ''by the steps taken by the US and the coalition it leads to support these tendencies'' and to ''support the creation of local government bodies presented as not being subordinate to Damascus.'' (ANSAmed).

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