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MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Russia’s military are ready to unite efforts with their French counterparts in the fight against international terrorism, Russia’s General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov said at the meeting with his French counterpart Army General Pierre de Villiers on Wednesday.
"I would like to stress that we are ready for cooperation with France’s defense ministry so far as our partners are ready for this," Gerasimov said, reminding that after the Paris terrorist attacks in November Russian President Vladimir Putin gave instructions to work with the French military like with allies.
"We were your allies in the fight against fascism and should be allies in the fight against terrorists," Gerasimov said.
Gerasimov also proposed to his French counterpart to exchange assessments of the current situation in Syria. "For our part, we will speak about the results of the air operation of Russia’s Aerospace Forces in Syria and share our vision of the prospects of the further development (of situation) in the country."
The Russian General Staff chief noted that significant changes have occurred in the global and regional security of late. "International terrorism that was viewed as a potential threat three years ago has unfortunately affected many countries."
Gerasimov said the sides need to consolidate efforts to destroy the sources of financial support for terrorists.
"Today France is making significant efforts on setting up a coalition on the fight against terrorists in Syria and Iraq. We back these efforts," Gerasimov stressed, adding that the events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown that no state can counter the threat of international terrorism independently.
The time has come for Russia and France to join forces in the fight against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups, the two countries should boost cooperation and data exchange, French Chief of Defense Staff Pierre de Villiers said on Wednesday.
"I think the time has come to pool our efforts in the fight against Daesh, ISIS [other names of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group outlawed in Russia — TASS], against Jabhat al-Nusra [the group is banned in Russia — TASS], against terrorism and to fight against them by joint efforts. We have a common goal," he said during a meeting with Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov.
Pierre de Villiers recalled that his visit to Russia was a follow-up of the visit of French President Francois Hollande who travelled to Moscow in late November. In addition to that, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Russia two days ago. "I think this is a landmark event. Our cooperation and data exchange should be boosted. Our two countries are united by long-standing friendship and cooperation in the military sphere," he added.
The general noted that he had "a wealth of experience of cooperation with the Russian Army" in Kosovo in 1998. "I must say that you have very good soldiers," he said during a meeting with the chief of the Russian General Staff.
Russia began to carry out strikes against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (both groups are outlawed in Russia) in Syria on September 30 at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Earlier reports said that Paris and Moscow had agreed to cooperate in the fight against terrorists.