Russia’s deputy foreign minister met Wednesday with leading diplomats from Iran and Iraq to discuss combating Islamist extremist groups and the future of Syria. With the U.S. minimizing efforts to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iraq expressing weariness of the U.S.’s extended presence in its country, Russia has become an increasingly important power broker in the region. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met in Moscow with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari and Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Nazar Khairallah to emphasize the “principled position of the three countries” on Syria. All three expressed support for Assad in a lengthy war pitting his armed forces against jihadists and opposition groups, according to Syria’s pro-government Al-Watan newspaper and Iran’s semi-official Tasnim News Agency . Related: U.S. is working with Russia to prevent a new war in Syria, Tillerson says Bogdanov also took the opportunity to attack the U.S.’s most recent round of sanctions against his country. The Russian diplomat called the sanctions “absolutely unlawful” and said they would further alienate the U.S. at a time where Washington is seeking to work more closely with Moscow in the Middle… Read full this story
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