Boris Johnson discusses Syria convoy attack with Moscow counterpart


Boris Johnson has met his Russian counterpart for the first time to discuss the "unacceptable" attack on an aid convoy in Syria, hours after a ceasefire ended.

The Foreign Secretary discussed this week's attack on the convoy in the war-torn country, which resulted in the deaths of 20 civilians, during the talks.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, although the US has said it was either a Russia or Syrian strike which did the damage.

A Foreign Office spokesman said Mr Johnson met Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday while the pair were in the US for the United Nations General Assembly. 

Their face-to-face meeting, in New York was their first since Mr Johnson was appointed, and came days after talks between Theresa May and Moscow over Russian president Vladimir Putin's support for Bashar Assad's Syrian regime

The spokesman said: "The ministers discussed the crisis in Syria and the increase in violence in recent days, including the recent unacceptable attack on an aid convoy.

"The Foreign Secretary pressed for Russia to use its influence constructively and underlined the need for the international community to work together to resolve the conflict.

"Mr Johnson also raised the situation in Ukraine, where there are continued violations of the Minsk agreements, and stressed the need for a sustainable ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.

"The Foreign Secretary was clear that while ongoing disagreements mean it is too early to normalise diplomatic relations, it is right that both countries continue to discuss important global issues."

Earlier this month Mr Johnson welcomed the US-Russia deal aimed at addressing the crisis in Syria.

The agreement was thrashed out by US secretary of state John Kerry and Mr Lavrov in an attempt to reduce violence in Syria and lead to a long-sought political transition, ending more than five years of bloody civil war.

However, the aid convoy strike earlier this week was seen as a blow to delicate relations between the parties.

Mrs May has also held talks with world leaders while in New York, in an effort to soothe tensions between Syria and its enemies.

She said: "We will continue to stand up for the rules based international system and for international law, and I join other leaders in condemning the outrageous bombing of the aid convoy in Syria."