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U.S.-Russia Syria Meeting Postponed Amid Chemical Claims Review

U.S.-Russia Syria Meeting Postponed Amid Chemical Claims Review
A Syrian rebel tries on a gas mask seized from a Syrian army factory in the northwestern province of Idlib on July 18, 2013. Photographer: Daneil Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

A meeting this week between U.S. and Russian diplomats aimed at reviving Syrian peace talks has been postponed as the U.S. and its allies weigh a response to claims that Syria’s government used chemical weapons against civilians, according to a State Department official.

Deputies to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were scheduled to meet in the Hague to discuss restarting stalled negotiations to end the two-year Syrian civil war. U.S. officials will work with their Russian counterparts to reschedule the meeting, said the State Department official, who asked not to be identified discussing the postponement.

The meeting would have been the first of American and Russian officials since reports emerged of an alleged chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb that Syrian opposition groups say killed at least 1,300 people. The U.S. and its allies are weighing whether to respond militarily against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime over the Aug. 21 attack, which Kerry today denounced as a “cowardly crime.”

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