US refusal to participate in the tenth round of Astana format meeting in the Russian city of Sochi as observer at the invitation of Moscow is regrettable, Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
RT quoted Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commenting on a question about US non-participation in the 10th round of Astana format meeting a as saying that indeed, the US has declined an invitation that was sent to them to attend this event as an observer. This response is regrettable, keeping in mind that Washington constantly gives assurances that it is willing to help the political process take place in Syria.
Zakharova added that Astana talks in Sochi are dedicated precisely to this objective, affirming that Astana format is in no way an alternative to Geneva. Rather, it is designed to work out the practical matters for progress on this track in keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
We see the US reluctance to send representatives to Sochi as a desire to lower the importance of the Astana format and discredit the implementation of the mediatory efforts in Syrian affairs that Washington is unable to put under its control. Moreover, the United States’ call to prioritize the Geneva format, including under the pretext of aiding the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, looks disingenuous, given the UN envoy’s concerned personal involvement in the Sochi event, Zakharova said.