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Lavrov: Russian, US military maintain contact to avoid incidents in Syria

October 01, 2015, 3:27 updated at: October 01, 2015, 4:51 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
The military coalitions of the United States and Russia involved in the air strikes are in contact to establish channels of communication to prevent possible incidents
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US warplane seen on board the nuclear-powered Roosevelt aircraft carrier (archive)

US warplane seen on board the nuclear-powered Roosevelt aircraft carrier (archive)

© AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

UNITED NATIONS, October 1. /TASS/. The Russian and US military will be in contact on Syria to avoid incidents, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday following meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

"We are meeting for the third time, we discussed the agreements reached by our presidents," he said. "We have been instructed to make sure that the military coalitions of the United States and Russia involved in the air strikes are in contact to establish channels of communication to prevent possible incidents." "We agreed that the military would establish contact very soon," Lavrov added.

Russia, US agree on objectives of settlement in Syria

Accordimg to the diplomat, Russia and the United States agree on the objectives of the settlement in Syria, there are disagreements on the ways of achieving them.

"Our president said while addressing the UN General Assembly that we will actively contribute to launching the political process on the Syrian settlement to create the conditions for the Syrians to agree on how they should live in their country, on the way they want to see their country, to agree that the rights of all ethnic groups and religious denominations are guaranteed, to make them feel involved, to be represented in the government bodies at the central and local levels and thus to put an end to the fratricidal conflict," the minister said.

"We agree that it’s necessary to achieve these objectives. I am sure that the majority of the Syrians see the future of their country in a similar way, the same vision is enshrined in the Geneva Communique," he said. "However, we have certain disagreements regarding the ways of moving to that goal," Lavrov noted.

Target only the positions of the Islamic State group

The air strikes of the Russian Air Force in Syria are surgical and target only the positions of the Islamic State group, Moscow has no information on civilian casualties, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

"You have heard the speech of John Kerry and other colleagues today at the meeting of the UN Security Council, this stance boils down to the following: if Russia really helps to fight with Islamic State, this is hailed. Let’s agree on how to avoid unintentional incidents, since the coalition’s aviation is also working in the skies over Syria," Lavrov said.

"They began talking that civilians had suffered during the strikes. We have no information about this," the minister noted. "We are closely monitoring the situation to make sure that the strikes are surgical, that the targets are only the positions, facilities, equipment and armament of terrorist groups.".

The Syrians should decide the fate of President al-Assad

Russia insists that the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be determined by the Syrians themselves, Sergey Lavrov said.

"Our stance is clear - we seek no regime change. Nor do we discuss the fate of the legitimate president of a sovereign country," he said. "Citizens of the country in question should determine the fate of their president. We spoke about this today as well.".

 Kerry did not attend the meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia and Syria

US Secretary of State John Kerry did not attend the meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia and Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday, commenting on media reports that said that the US top diplomat went to a reception area of the Russian delegation’s office during Lavrov’s talks with his Syrian counterpart. "He did not attend the meeting, he went to his room," the minister said.

The Russian foreign minister held a bilateral meeting with his Syrian counterpart on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, after which the latter told reporters that Moscow coordinated with Damascus all its actions on the operation in Syria.

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