April 21, 2016 / 10:07 AM / in 2 years

Syrian ministers say Europe and regional powers support terrorists: SANA

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria’s prime minister and foreign minister on Thursday accused European and regional powers of supporting terrorists and fuelling fighting in the country, in a defiant tone from Damascus after a halt to peace talks this week.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem speaks during a news conference in Damascus, Syria March 12, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

Prime Minister Wael al-Halaki said Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Britain and France did not want a political solution to the conflict.

“These regimes are working to escalate terrorist actions, support terrorists and destroy the cessation of hostilities agreement agreed by Russia and the United States,” state news agency SANA quoted him as saying.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said earlier that states including Turkey continued to supply rebels in Syria with advanced weapons, and that the Syrian government would press on with its fight against terrorists.

The partial truce, brokered by Washington and Moscow in February, initially reduced violence in the west, but fighting has picked up again in recent weeks, leaving the ceasefire in tatters.

The statements from Damascus suggested it still felt it was in a position of strength, bolstered by a six-month-old Russian military intervention on President Bashar al-Assad’s side.

A top adviser to Assad said that “dialogue, local agreements and destroying terrorism” were the way to ensure a political solution to the conflict.

“We are trying to exploit every possible opportunity for the success of the political solution to the Syrian crisis,” Bouthaina Shaaban said.

Reporting by John Davison and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Editing by Dominic Evans

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