April 7, 2017 / 1:16 PM / 7 months ago

Russia calls emergency U.N. task force meeting on Syria strikes

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has demanded an emergency meeting of the United Nations ceasefire task force in Geneva to discuss U.S. missile strikes on Syria, the RIA news agency quoted a diplomatic source as saying on Friday.

Such meetings are chaired by U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura and were set up in early 2016 with joint U.S.-Russian backing. They are a forum for diplomats to talk about breaches of Syria’s shaky ceasefire.

Moscow wants the meeting to be held in Geneva today at 1500 GMT, the source told RIA, adding that the task force would discuss “the situation on the ground with connection to the U.S. missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat airbase.”

The United States fired cruise missiles earlier on Friday at the base from which President Donald Trump said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched. Russia has sharply condemned the strikes.

Reporting by Denis Pinchuk in Moscow and Tom Miles in Geneva; Writing by Sujata Rao; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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