Russia's foreign minister says Moscow isn't discussing Syria's future without President Bashar Assad as Washington has claimed.
Sergey Lavrov denied on Thursday's statement by state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland that Moscow and Washington were discussing a post-Assad transition strategy.
Lavrov told a news conference on Friday that Russia believes it's up to the Syrians to determine their country's future and that foreign players shouldn't meddle in that.
He argued that an international conference on Syria that Russia has proposed should focus on persuading the Syrian parties to sit down for talks. He says that Russia is opposing any attempts to use the conference to predetermine Syria's future.
Russia, along with China, has twice shielded Syria, its last remaining ally in the Arab world, from international sanctions.