Russia and West spar over reconstruction of Syria

July 27, 2018 - 2:43 pm

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia and the West are sparring over the reconstruction of Syria as its military forces continue to capture opposition-held territory and Syrians express hope that the country's seven-year civil war is nearing an end.

France's U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre made clear at a Security Council meeting Friday that the European Union will not participate in rebuilding Syria "unless a political transition is effectively carried out, with constitutional and electoral processes carried out in a sincere and meaningful way."

Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Dmitry Polyansky, whose country is militarily backing Syrian President Bashar Assad, countered that reconstruction should not be linked to politics and the international community should join the country's recovery effort now.

But Western nations are adamant about withholding reconstruction money to maximize pressure for a political transition.

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