PARIS (Dispatches) – The United States is looking to illegally separate territories on the eastern bank of the Euphrates and create a separate, illegal, quasi-state there, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said, speaking at the Paris Peace Forum.
"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 (so-called) 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 same time, Lavrov accused the U.S. of prohibiting its allies from investing in Syria's reconstruction.
"When it comes to Syria's reconstruction, we, together with the Syrian government, support inviting everyone [to participate], in creating conditions for the modernization of infrastructure and the return of refugees, so that the country can return to a normal life. The United States categorically denies the need for this, and prohibit its allies - NATO, the European Union, countries of the region, from investing in any projects in the territories controlled by the Syrian government," the foreign minister said.
Last year, Syrian authorities estimated that between $200 and $400 billion in investment, and up to a decade would be needed to rebuild Syria following the conflict. The U.S. and its European allies have refused to commit to funding reconstruction efforts, although many European countries are facing major social tensions, due to the influx of Syrian refugees into Europe.
In his remarks on Tuesday, Lavrov urged Syria's Kurds to take part in the 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 U.S. support, when they announced the creation of the Rojava Federation, and that the U.S. would provide them with support in a movement toward separatism, this was their decision," the diplomat said. "We attempted to explain to them, and 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 the United States would always support them," he added.
A convoy of U.S. military vehicles drives through the Syrian northeastern town of al-Qahtaniyah on the border with Turkey on October 31, 2019.