U.S. official: Russia needs to press Syria on peace talks
A senior U.S. official said Friday that Russia is being urged to push the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to participate more actively in the Geneva talks aimed at ending the country’s civil war.
U.S. Under-Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told Al Arabiya News Channel’s senior correspondent Rima Maktabi that the Syrian regime needs to take the negotiations more “seriously,” like the opposition.
“We urge Russia to engage with the regime in an even more energetic way to get them to come to these talks with more seriousness,” Sherman said on Friday.
“It takes extra energy from both Russia and the United States to urge the parties to engage constructively. We believe the Syrian coalition is doing so, we do not believe the regime is doing so,” she said.
During the interview, Sherman clarified that the “talks have not failed” but that challenging moments were expected during the negotiations.
She also said that the United States was working “really hard” to help the Syrian people and end the country’s nearly three-year-old civil war that has killed over 136,000 people.
“[U.S. President] Obama has asked all of us to look for ways to be more helpful to the Syrian people and we are constantly working on that,” she said.