US drops Rus­sia talks as regime ad­vances in Aleppo

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE US aban­doned its ef­fort to con­vince Rus­sia to im­pose a cease­fire on the Syr­ian regime as gov­ern­ment forces pur­sued their re­lent­less on­slaught on east­ern Aleppo.

Ac­cus­ing Moscow of abet­ting Syr­ian strong­man Bashar al-As­sad’s as­sault on civil­ian dis­tricts of the city, Washington said it had sus­pended bi­lat­eral talks with Rus­sia on re­viv­ing a truce.

“Every­body’s pa­tience with Rus­sia has run out,” White House spokesper­son Josh Earnest said.

A State De­part­ment of­fi­cial said US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry is “laser-fo­cused” on find­ing a diplo­matic so­lu­tion to the con­flict through mul­ti­lat­eral chan­nels but his near-daily tele­phone calls and reg­u­lar Geneva talks with Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov on the cri­sis are over.

“This is not a de­ci­sion that was taken lightly,” State De­part­ment spokesper­son John Kirby said, an­nounc­ing an end to plans to set up a joint US-Rus­sian mil­i­tary cell to tar­get ji­hadists.

The Rus­sian and US mil­i­taries will keep a com­mu­ni­ca­tions chan­nel set up to en­sure their forces do not get in each other’s way dur­ing “coun­tert­er­ror­ism op­er­a­tions in Syria”, Mr Kirby said.

But US per­son­nel who had been sent to Geneva to set up a Joint Im­ple­men­ta­tion Cen­ter with Rus­sian of­fi­cers are com­ing home.

“We re­gret this de­ci­sion by Washington,” Rus­sian for­eign min­istry spokesper­son Maria Zakharova said, Rus­sian agen­cies re­ported.

A truce was de­clared on Septem­ber 12 un­der a deal Mr Kerry and Mr Lavrov signed in Geneva last month, but it col­lapsed within a week.

Washington ac­cused Moscow of fail­ing to rein in Mr As­sad’s gov­ern­ment forces and of car­ry­ing out air strikes on civil­ian tar­gets, in­clud­ing a UN aid con­voy.

Moscow, mean­while, says the United States failed to sep­a­rate “moder­ate” anti-As­sad rebels from ji­hadists linked to al-Qaeda.

The US spokesper­son ac­cused Moscow and Da­m­as­cus of tar­get­ting hos­pi­tals and pre­vent­ing aid from reach­ing des­per­ate civil­ians.

The aid agency Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders re­acted with fury to the lat­est hos­pi­tal bomb­ings, say­ing strikes on clin­ics in Syria and Ye­men leave “the global med­i­cal com­mu­nity in speech­less shock”.

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