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 Russia seeks Syria rebuilding at cost of world powers, - Financial Times

Russia is pressing world powers to provide Syria with billions of dollars for reconstruction.

As reported by Censor.NET citing Financial Times, European and Gulf states, angered by Russia's military intervention that tilted the war in favor of President Bashar al-Assad, will only contribute if Moscow secures a peace settlement that sets the terms for an eventual political transition.

"They [Russia] go in, they mess it all up, they break everything and want everyone to pay for it," a European diplomat said.

According to the article, Russia is the dominant foreign player involved in the war, but after helping broker a cease-fire between the warring parties in December, it has struggled to bring the adversaries closer to a political agreement.

Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia's deputy foreign minister in charge of Middle East issues, told a meeting of EU ambassadors in Moscow last week that the reconstruction of Syria would top the agenda very soon, European diplomats told Financial Times.

Read more: Putin to cut Russia's military presence in Syria

The Russian official said "tens of billions of dollars" would be needed, while warning that "nothing" should be expected from Russia.

"The Russians really do not want to inherit a completely destroyed Syria - that's a problem that would stick with them as long as Iraq has been haunting the Americans," a Middle East-based diplomat said.

But the Russian initiative could face resistance - particularly as Russian air strikes were responsible for destruction in cities such as Aleppo. The conflict has reduced entire neighborhoods across the country to rubble and forced millions of people from their homes.

Watch more: Putin calls Russian-Syrian efforts in Aleppo "definitely successful". VIDEO (in Russian)

Moscow used the war in Syria to expand its influence in the region. Meanwhile, EU member states have differed on whether to insist on Mr Assad's departure as an explicit condition for a settlement or back a transitional arrangement. Countries including the UK, France and the Netherlands believe the war will not end until he goes, but others argue that should not stop efforts to ease the violence.
 
 
 
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