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Russia accuses UN envoy of 'sabotaging' Syria talks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Photo by AFP)

Russia's foreign minister has accused UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura of "sabotaging" a resolution backing peace talks between the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition.

"The United Nations in the form of its special representative, Staffan de Mistura, has been sabotaging the resolution for more than six months," Sergei Lavrov said in televised remarks while on a visit to Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

"It seems there is no other way except for the patriotic opposition and the government to take the initiative into their own hands and organize Syrian dialogue," Lavrov stated.

The top Russian diplomat said the resolution called for "holding inclusive Syrian talks without preconditions."

UN Security Council Resolution 2254 calls for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria and the formation of a "credible, inclusive and non-sectarian" government within six months and UN-supervised "free and fair elections" within 18 months.

The High Negotiations Committee (HNC), a coalition of foreign-backed Syrian opposition groups, has attended some rounds of the UN-brokered peace talks in the Swiss city of Geneva.

In April, the talks failed after the Saudi-backed opposition group abandoned the negotiating table.

The photo shows a meeting between UN officials and members of the Syrian opposition in Geneva, Switzerland, April 22, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The HNC left the negotiations in protest against what it called escalating violence and restrictions on humanitarian access in Syria and declared a "new war" on the government.

Over 400,000 people have been killed and nearly half of the population have been displaced since the turmoil began in Syria in March 2011.

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