US seeks formation of illegal Quasi-State in Eastern Syria: Lavrov

TEHRAN, Nov. 12 (MNA) – The United States is looking to illegally separate territories on the eastern bank of the Euphrates and to create a separate, illegal quasi-state there, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

On the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, they are doing everything possible to create the structure for a quasi-state, and are asking the Persian Gulf States for major investments in order to create a local administration on the basis of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurds - the YPG People's Protection Units and others, with the clear intention of breaking this piece of territory off from Syria and controlling the oil fields located there," Lavrov said at the Paris Peace Forum on Tuesday.

At the same time, Lavrov accused the US of prohibiting its allies from investing in Syria's reconstruction, Sputnik reported.

"When it comes to Syria's reconstruction, we support, together with the Syrian government, inviting everyone [to participate], creating the conditions for the modernization of infrastructure and the return of refugees, so that the country could return to a normal life. The United States categorically deny the need for this, and prohibit its allies - NATO, the European Union, countries of the region, from investing in any projects in territories controlled by the Syrian government," the foreign minister said.

In his remarks Tuesday, Lavrov urged Syria's Kurds to take part in political dialogue on the situation in the country but called on Kurdish representatives to be consistent in their position.

"If from the start of the conflict, they decided that they can act with US support, when they announced the creation of the Rojava Federation, and that the US would provide them with support in a movement toward separatism, this was their decision," the diplomat said. "We attempted to explain to them, and to the Syrian government, that it is important to begin a dialogue between Damascus and the Kurds. The Kurds did not show interest in this. They were convinced that they would always be supported by the United States," he added.

Lavrov lamented that although Kurdish authorities did ask Moscow for assistance in starting a dialogue with the Syrian government as the US announced its partial withdrawal from eastern Syria in October, they appeared to lose interest in such dialogue after the US said that they would return to the country to control its oil fields.

"I have no doubt in my mind that a solution to the Syrian process can be achieved only if the interests of the Kurds, and of all of Syria's ethnic groups, are taken into account," Lavrov stressed.

Over the past several weeks, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that the US would be "keeping" Syria's oil, with the Pentagon clarifying that the US military's Syria mission will now include preventing the country's oil stocks from falling into the hands of either terrorists or the Damascus government.

Trump's comments brought him widespread condemnation, including among his opponents at home, who warned that taking another state's natural resources would violate international laws against pillaging.

Commenting on Trump's comments regarding Syria's oil, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the US president's policy was nothing new, with the US government, the CIA and others involved in the smuggling and looting of Syrian oil going back to at least 2014, in his estimation. Trump, Assad said, "just announce[d] the truth" about US policy.

MNA/PR

News Code 152219

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