August 20, 2018 / 10:02 AM / 4 months ago

Russia says U.S. refusal to rebuild Syria ploy to slow refugee return

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil in Moscow, Russia August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday a U.S. refusal to take part in the reconstruction of Syria was designed to impede the return of Syrian refugees to the country.

Lavrov said Washington was only interested in rebuilding parts of Syria where the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was active. Lavrov was speaking in Moscow following talks with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil.

Reporting by Polina Ivanova and Andrew Osborn; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Toby Chopra

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