US refusal to join Syria talks in Sochi an attempt to downplay peace effort – Moscow

Moscow regrets Washington’s refusal to send its observers to the 10th international meeting on Syria in the Astana format, Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has said. “We consider the US refusal to send its representatives to Sochi as an intention to downplay the importance of the Astana format, and to discredit the implementation of mediation efforts in Syrian affairs that Washington is unable to put under its control,” Zakharova said. Russia, Turkey and Iran, as well as the Syrian government, the Syrian opposition and the UN gathered in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday to kick off another round of consultations on a peace settlement for Syria. The process started in the Kazakh capital, Astana, in 2015.