State Department suspends contacts with Russia over Syria

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a Pledging Conference in Support of Iraq, co-hosted by the United States, Canada, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, and the Netherlands at the State Department in Washington, U.S., July 20, 2016.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTSIWIQ

The State Department says the U.S. is suspending bilateral contacts with Russia over Syria. That comes after last week’s threat by Secretary of State John Kerry to suspend contacts amid new attacks on the city of Aleppo. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

WASHINGTON — The State Department says the U.S. is suspending bilateral contacts with Russia over Syria. That comes after last week’s threat by Secretary of State John Kerry to suspend contacts amid new attacks on the city of Aleppo.

The department said in a statement Monday that Russia had not lived up to the terms of an agreement last month to restore the cease-fire and ensure sustained deliveries of humanitarian aid to besieged cities.

As part of the suspension, the U.S. is withdrawing personnel that it had dispatched to take part in the creation of a joint U.S.-Russia center. That center was to have coordinated military cooperation and intelligence if the cease-fire had taken hold. The suspension will not affect communications between the two countries aimed at de-conflicting counter-terrorism operations in Syria.

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