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No reasons to evade cooperation with Syrian leadership — Russia FM

September 17, 2015, 17:20 UTC+3

According to the Russian top diplomat, the Syrian crisis can be settled only through nationwide dialogue

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© TASS/Mikhail Metzel

SOCHI, September 17. /TASS/. The fight against terrorism should not turn into lawlessness, there are no reasons to evade cooperation with the Syrian authorities, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Feridun Sinirlioglu.

"Today we, while exchanging opinions with my Turkish counterpart, remembered the history of establishment of the US coalition, which has an agreement with Iraq on the possibility to deliver strikes on the positions of the Islamic State (IS) on its territory," Lavrov said.

"The coalition also unilaterally announced that it will act on Syrian territory in a similar way, delivering air strikes on positions of terrorists without any consent on the part of Damascus," he said.

"Now we see this coalition - US, British, Australian and Belgian aviation - deliver strikes on positions on Syrian territory. The French announced that they are starting reconnaissance flights because they have information that ‘there could be bad people plotting a terrorist attack on France somewhere there’," the minister continued.

"All these participants of the coalition explain and justify their actions by the right to self-defense," he said.

"We have been consecutively fighting terrorism, we, the Russian Federation, started doing that probably earlier than anyone else," Lavrov said. "We had the North Caucasus, you know, long before September 11, 2001. And on September 11, 2001, President Putin was the first to call the US president to express solidarity and offer assistance."

"We support all actions leading to weakening of the terrorist threat in the region, but we should act against terrorism exclusively on the basis of international law," he stressed. "I will recall that the Security Council and UN member countries have constantly demanded that we should act in such a way that the fight against terrorism would not turn into lawlessness."

"And certainly, especially in this case, when there are no reasons to evade cooperation with the Syrian leadership, which, first, counters this terrorist threat, and second, the Syrian president is the commander-in-chief of probably the most capable ground force fighting terrorism, to give up such an opportunity, ignore the capabilities of the Syrian army as a partner and ally in the fight against the Islamic State means to sacrifice the entire region’s security to some geopolitical moods and calculations," Lavrov said.

"We are for working exclusively on the basis of international law," he said.

Speaking about potentials "on the ground", the minister said the United States, Europe, independent observers and many officials "have repeatedly said air strikes alone will not defeat terrorists."

"We need to do everything possible to overcome current problems between these detachments [Iraqi, Syrian armies and Kurdish militia]," Lavrov said. "We need to do everything for those who influence Syrian opposition detachments to explain to them the absolute priority of the fight against the terrorist threat."

Nationwide dialogue only way to resolve Syria crisis

According to the Russian top diplomat, the Syrian crisis can be settled only through nationwide dialogue.

Settlement in Syria requires "resolution of all problems facing the Syrians now in their country exclusively through nationwide dialogue that involves representatives of all possible political and social forces, all ethnic and confessional groups," said the Russian minister.

"This dialogue should lead to common consent as a result," the Russian diplomat added.

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