U.S. slams Syrian diplomat for speech at peace talks

Associated Press
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry looks at his notes at the opening of the Geneva-2 peace conference in Montreux
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry looks at his notes at the opening of the Geneva-2 peace conference in Montreux January 22, 2014. Syria's government and its enemies came face to face for the first time on Wednesday at the one-day peace conference in Switzerland which world powers hope can at least start a process to end three years of civil war. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS)

MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) — The United States is criticizing Syria's top diplomat for his "inflammatory" speech at an international peace conference aimed at ending the country's brutal conflict.

The State Department said Wednesday that remarks from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem were not in keeping with the spirit or aims of the gathering, which is intended to begin the process of forming a transitional government. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that instead of laying out a "positive vision" for Syria's future, al-Moallem chose "inflammatory rhetoric."

In his speech, al-Moallem accused the West and neighboring countries of funneling money, weapons and foreign fighters to the rebellion.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon also lamented that al-Moallem had used his speech to attack other participants at the conference.

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