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10 Feb, 2016 04:14

Russia has offered US ‘concrete plan’ to end Syrian crisis – Lavrov

Russia has offered US ‘concrete plan’ to end Syrian crisis – Lavrov

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has revealed the US is studying Moscow's “concrete” plan to end the war in Syria, while expressing concerns that rhetoric over the humanitarian issue is hindering efforts to resolve the crisis in the Arab country.

“During our contacts with Washington, we have proposed an absolutely concrete plan which they are now studying…I hope the simple proposals the plan contains will not take too much time for Washington to consider,” Lavrov told the Russian daily MK in an interview, while stressing that he could not elaborate on the details of the plan.

The interview, which comes ahead of Diplomat Day in Russia, largely dealt with the “information war” Russia has been embroiled in, according to Lavrov. Russia’s top diplomat said the stand-off goes beyond Eastern Europe, with the settlement of the Syrian crisis seemingly falling prey to it as well.

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“They’ve tried to turn the humanitarian situation in Syria into almost a measure of the ability to take further steps towards reaching a political settlement [of the crisis], making its resolution a preliminary precondition for starting any meaningful talks between the Syrians,” Lavrov said, adding that Moscow is now increasingly being accused of aggravating the situation by conducting its air campaign against terrorist groups in the Arab country.

Russia has even had to compile a report for the UN explaining who was behind the humanitarian crisis in Syria, he revealed.

The situation has been further aggravated by selective, incomplete coverage of the humanitarian crisis by the Western media, according to the official.

“Just for how long can you talk about 40,000 civilians in Madaya not getting enough food, medicine, and other basic necessities because they are surrounded by government troops, and at the same time turn a blind eye to the fact that 200,000 people have been surrounded by Islamic State fighters and other militants in the city of Deir ez-Zor?” Lavrov said.

The city of Deir ez-Zor is an enclave in eastern Syria controlled by government troops and surrounded by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) jihadists. Russia’s Defense Ministry delivered humanitarian aid to the besieged city in January.

“We started to airdrop humanitarian aid in such [besieged] settlements while being backed and accompanied by Syrian air forces. We were immediately blamed for dropping the cargo blindly, without guarantees that the aid would get into safe hands on the ground. One can invent any reason [for accusations],” Lavrov said.

Lavrov and Kerry agreed in a telephone call last week on plans to convene a meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Munich on February 11, when the sides are to consider “all the aspects of the Syrian settlement.”

The two top diplomats also urged both Bashar Assad and the opposition forces “to ensure humanitarian access… to the areas of the country blocked both by the government troops and the armed opposition units,” the Russian foreign ministry said, adding that Washington and Moscow will look into possibly coordinating their actions to deliver humanitarian aid to certain areas of Syria.