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15 February 2019 04:30

Amira Abase, Shamima Begum and Kadiza Sultana United Kingdom Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

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Russia has decided not to attend the US-led international conference inaugurated yesterday in Polish capital Warsaw. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on social media that the meeting "is a new US attempt to promote its unilateral geopolitical interests through initiatives that are presented as the opinion of the international community". Russia also denounced the US attempts to affect decision making in Iran, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported, citing the Russian Interfax news agency. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was reported by Interfax as saying: "The conspiracy of big countries like America will not affect our policies." The US, which believes that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb, claims it will push the Iranian army out of Syria. READ: US seeks to increase pressure on Iran at Warsaw meeting Chief EU diplomat Federica Mogherini also said she would not attend the Warsaw conference, Al Jazeera said, adding that Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil had also announced he would not attend the summit.

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Meanwhile, Palestinian officials have dubbed the conference a US-Israeli "conspiracy aimed at eliminating the Palestinian cause". Instead of attending the conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to receive Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran's Rouhani in Moscow today, to discuss plans related to Syria in response to the US withdrawal announcement late last year. WATCH: Netanyahu rolls his campaign bus into Warsaw While the US-sponsored conference focusing on Iran continues in Warsaw, the notable absentees from that event are holding their own meeting today in the Russian ski resort of Sochi. Vladimir Putin is meeting Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran's Hassan Rouhani for a rival summit to discuss the situation in Syria and the pending withdrawal of US troops there. There are significant differences between them, however.

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The three powers have all insisted they want a political solution to close the nearly eight-year civil war in Syria. But Moscow and Tehran both support the current Syrian government of President Bashar Assad, while Turkey and the United States back different rebel formations. Various phases of negotiation in the last few years have not produced a solution to end the fighting, which has meant over 400,000 people have been killed, millions more displaced and many historic sites destroyed. US forces are set to be withdrawn from the country, where they had been liaising with the Kurdish People's Protection Units, which Turkey considers to have terrorism links. The fourth summit of Iran, Russia, and Turkey in Sochi shows the importance of developing regional cooperation in creating peace and stability, Sanaei said on his Twitter account on Thursday. The American versions of such conferences, like the one happening in Warsaw, have led to nothing except instability and spread of terrorism in the region, he added in his tweet. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, plan to meet in Russia's Sochi later on Thursday to discuss the Syrian issue. The anti-Iran summit organized by the United States kicked off in Poland on Wednesday. The Warsaw conference is considered as part of US attempts to heap pressure on Iran globally. Since withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal last year, the US administration has steadily ratcheted up pressure on Tehran and vowed to increase it until Iran halts what US officials describe as its "malign activities" throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. As part of its policy of maximum pressure, Washington in early November re-imposed what it called the harshest-ever sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The meeting has, however, received a cold welcome from Washington's European allies, which are engaged in a diplomatic process with Tehran aimed at saving the 2015 nuclear deal. Moscow, Feb 14, IRNA – Iran's ambassador to Moscow said here on Thursday that the Sochi Summit indicates how important the development of regional and Eastern cooperation in establishment of peace and stability is. Mehdi Sanaei made the remarks in a twitter post, commenting on the February 14 Sochi Summit to be held in the Russian city on the Black Sea coast with participation of the Iranian, Russian and Turkish presidents. The external and American copies, like what is happening in the Polish capital of Warsaw, have already brought nothing to the region but instability and expansion of terrorism, Sanaei wrote. The situation of Syria after US forces' withdrawal from the country, formation of Syria constitutional committee, the review of the latest developments in north Syria and ways to dispatch humanitarian aid to the Syrian people are the subjects for discussion in Sochi. Earlier this morning, Iranian president arrived in Sochi port city to take part in the summit on Syria.