Moscow Rejects Washington’s Plan B for Syria Crisis

Moscow Rejects Washington’s Plan B for Syria Crisis
Thu Feb 25, 2016 17:11:25

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has dismissed speculation about an alternative plan for a political settlement of the Syria crisis.

Lavrov on Thursday rejected claims by his US counterpart John Kerry that there is a ‘Plan B’ if an imminent truce deal for Syria fails to reduce hostilities in Syria.

Kerry said on Tuesday that in case a political transition fails to unfold in Syria, the US has a slew of “Plan B” options.

Other officials in Moscow denied the existence of one such option, saying the only agreement reached between Moscow and Washington is an imminent truce in the Arab country that will be formalized through a United Nations Security Council resolution.

“We’re perplexed by our Western partners, the US included, mentioning the existence of some kind of ‘Plan B,’ nothing is known on that one, we are considering no alternative plans,” Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said during a conference in Moscow on Thursday.

An aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin also rejected the Plan B conjectures, calling the idea proposed by Kerry as ambiguous. Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that Moscow’s top priority for the time being remains carrying out the truce initiative.

The Syrian government, which has endorsed the ceasefire, also reacted to the claims, with Bouthaina Shaaban, a political and media adviser to the President Bashar al-Assad, saying that such statements are ostensibly meant to pile up more pressure on Damascus during the lull in the fighting.

The United States and Russia agreed on Monday to a truce in Syria beginning on February 27. The deal excludes two major Takfiri groups, namely Daesh and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra.

Nearly five years of turmoil has claimed the lives of more than 270,000 people in Syria and displaced millions, according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Some reports, however, put the death toll as high as 470,000.

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