Russia says talks with U.S. on Syria rocky, fears use of force

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad meets Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Damascus
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (centre, on R) meets Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (centre, on L) in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on September 18, 2013. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Talks between Russia and the United States on the conflict in Syria are not going very smoothly and Moscow is concerned a chemical weapons deal may have only delayed U.S. military action, a senior Russian diplomat said on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately it's necessary to note that in contacts with the Americans, things are not going so smoothly...they are not quite going in the direction they should," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in parliament.

He said U.S. officials "always mention that plans to punish Damascus remain in force. We draw certain conclusions from that and assume that the threat of aggression in violation of international law is so far only delayed, not dismissed fully."

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska,; Writing by Steve Gutterman,; Editing by Thomas Grove)