BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The Russian government has been constantly lying about its willingness to negotiate a ceasefire in Aleppo, France’s foreign minister said on Monday, accusing Moscow of intentionally deceiving its partners.
“There is Russian doublespeak ... a form of constant lies. On the one hand they say let’s negotiate, and we negotiate to reach a ceasefire,” Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters in Brussels following the failure of weekend talks in Paris.
“On the other, they continue the war, a total war, it’s a desire to save the(Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad regime and to make Aleppo fall.”
Arriving for a meeting of EU foreign ministers, he said proof that Russia’s stated aim of targeting militants was false lay in reports that Islamic State had retaken the ancient city of Palmyra.
“The Russians who pretend to fight against terrorism are in fact focusing on Aleppo and have given space to Daesh (Islamic State), which is in the process of taking back Palmyra, which is very symbolic”, Ayrault said.
Reporting by Robin Emmott, Editing by Gabriela Baczynska