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Lavrov: US coalition against Islamic State may have different purposes

September 13, 2015, 14:37 UTC+3
The West’s position about illegitimacy of Bashar Assad in fighting the Islamic State is an ideology-based approach, which will bring no results, Russia’s Foreign Minister said
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© EPA/SZILARD KOSZTICSAK

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, September 13. /TASS/. Moscow has information the US is aware of the Islamic State's (IS) positions, but won't begin air strikes, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with a weekly review program on Russia's Channel One.

"I hope I would not fail anyone by saying some of our counterparts, members of the coalition, say they sometimes have information about where, at which positions certain IS groups are, but the coalition's commander (in the US) won't agree to deliver a strike," he said.

"Our American counterparts either from the very beginning were establishing the coalition not thoroughly enough, or the idea was it should have the goals other from those declared," he said. "The coalition was formed very spontaneously: within just a few days they declared it was ready, certain countries have joined, and they began some strikes."

"Analysis of the coalition’s aviation causes weird impressions," he said. "The suspicions are besides the declared goal of fighting the Islamic State there is something else in that coalition’s goals," the minister said.

"I do not want to make any conclusions - it is not clear what impressions, information of higher ideas the commander may have - but signals of the kind are coming."

"Excluding the Syrian armed forces from fighting the Islamic State is absurd"

Moscow calls it absurd to exclude the Syrian military from fighting the Islamic State (IS), as the governmental military are the most effective force on the ground, Russia’s foreign minister said.

"They [West - TASS] announce publically they would not [talk to Assad]. Moreover, they say they would welcome an input from Russia or any other country in fighting the IS if only it does not strengthen positions of the Syrian president," Lavrov said.

"Excluding the Syrian armed forces from fighting the Islamic State is absurd," he said. "With all the options I have named, the most effective military force on the ground is the Syrian armed forces."

"We are told Australia has joined the coalition and it will also deliver air strikes to positions of the Islamic State without whatever steps to improve positions of the Syrian president," the foreign minister said. "The British have been shelling the Syrian territory - they have killed several jihadists and announced it was execution of the UK’s sovereign right for self-defence. France has joined the air strikes not only of Iraq, to which Baghdad had agreed, but also delivers the strikes on the Syrian territory, and nobody ever asked if Damascus agreed to it."

The minister wondered perhaps everyone wants Russia also to declare it would deliver air strikes on Syria without asking the president of that country. "Why is this game in the artificial non-recognition of legitimacy?" Lavrov asked.

"This is not at all the regime of Bashar Assad, but the Islamic State"

The West’s position about illegitimacy of Bashar Assad in fighting the Islamic State is an ideology-based approach, which will bring no results, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

"When it was important to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons, Syria’s President Bashar Assad seemed to be legitimate. His actions to join the convention were welcomed in the resolution of the UN Security Council," the minister said. "A year goes, and now he is not legitimate any longer, as now the threat comes not from chemical weapons or substances; the current threat is the terror."

"This is an ideology-based approach. I believe it will not bring results we are hoping for," Lavrov said. "Effective could be only coordinated ideology-free fighting terrorism without double standards and with clear focuses."

"Our all western counterparts are telling us they realise what is the real threat now in the Middle East and in Northern Africa," the foreign minister continued. "This is not at all the regime of Bashar Assad, but the Islamic State. If everyone acknowledges it, though sometimes in a whisper not to announce it openly, then practical actions are to follow."

The West can hear clearly what Russia has been suggesting, he said.

"The ideological base and the earlier declared objective of changing the regime in Syria would not allow them change the position," Lavrov said. "They may fear losing face. Many political figures in the West check how the electorate will take this or that action."

"They have pushed themselves into a corner, claiming "Bashar Assad does not have future in Syria, we are not getting to the table with him, and we have nothing in common with him." This is a big mistake for politicians," the Russian foreign minister said.

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