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Russia’s Lavrov says no plans for airstrikes in Iraq

October 01, 2015, 21:54 UTC+3

Russian aerospace forces are targeting the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister says

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© Alexander Scherbak/TASS

UNITED NATIONS, October 1. /TASS/. Russia is not planning to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a UN gathering of world leaders, Lavrov said: "We are not planning to expand our airstrikes to Iraq. We were not invited, not asked."

"We are polite people, as you know. We don’t come if not invited," he said.

According to Sergey Lavrov, many UN member countries have expressed interest toward the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin to create a broad anti-terrorist coalition on the basis of UN Charter and international law.

"Yesterday, we held a ministerial meeting of UN Security Council on terrorism threat. Opinions were different but we agreed on one thing — terrorism is a threat for all," Lavrov said. "I think that many [countries] showed interest and were positive about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initiative to create an anti-terrorist coalition in accordance with UN Charter," he added.

Lavrov proposes to investigate use of chemical weapons in Iraq upon same scheme as in Syria

There are several proven facts of chemical weapons utilization in Iraq by the Islamic State militants, Russian Foreign Minister noted.

He said the issue of a joint mechanism of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN for investigation of the facts of chemical weapons utilization in Syria had moved to the dimension of practical steps.

Russia is working to proliferate the pattern to the Iraqi territory as well as there are several confirmed facts that chemical weapons have been used there, Lavrov said.

Russia striking IS, Jabhat al-Nusra, other terrorists

The Russian aerospace forces are targeting the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups in Syria, the Foreign Minister noted.

"The targets are ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups," he told a press briefing.

Lavrov said that the US-led coalition was also targeting the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra.

"We have the same approach," he admitted.

Claims IS will be wiped out after Assad goes not serious

Moscow urges the US administration to read the full text of the Geneva communique that concerns, among other things, a transitional managing agency in Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister pointed out it was important to give attention to the item that spelt out the setting up of a transitional governing body.

While the US believes that President Bashar Assad should go after the agency is created, Moscow is asking Washington to read the communique in full, since it contains a phrase about actions on the basis of mutual consent.

As for the statements that the Islamic State will be done away with as soon as Assad goes, they are not serious, Lavrov said.

Hypocritical to talk about Syrian authorities’ illegitimacy

It is hypocritical to talk about Syrian authorities’ illegitimacy after cooperating with them on the chemical weapons, Russian Foreign Minister told a press conference.

Lavrov stressed it is a mistake not to cooperate with the Syrian government in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization noting that statements about Bashar Assad’s government illegitimacy are hypocritical after cooperating with them on chemical weapons.

Russia does not consider the Free Syrian Army as a terrorist group, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov added.

"We believe that Free Syrian Army should be part of the political process," he said.

Moscow seeks to avoid any misunderstanding with US

Russia cannot be part of a coalition currently operating without a mandate from the UN Security Council but it is interested in coordination of efforts to fight with the Islamic State grouping, Sergey Lavrov went on to say.

"We're interested in cooperating with the coalition in Syria," he confirmed, saying that Russia would like to rule out misunderstanding with the US even though it could not be part and parcel of an unauthorized coalition.

Sergey Lavrov does not agree with US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s statements that Russia’s activities in Syria are equivalent to "pouring gasoline in a fire."

"I cannot really share [Defense] Secretary Carter’s assessment. We know about many fires gasolined by the Pentagon in the region, and we believe that our position is absolutely in line with international law," Lavrov told a press conference.

It is impossible to avoid an impression any legal grounding for actions by the US-led coalition in Syria is non-existent, Russian Foreign Minister claimed.

In his words, there is no delivering strikes without a UN Security Council resolution or without consent from the Syrian government.

Afghan settlement prospects look uncertain

According to Sergey Lavrov, the outlook for settling the conflict in Afghanistan remains uncertain.

"There has been an enlarged meeting on Afghanistan, which noted an unprecedented surge in terrorist activity and invariably high civilian casualties," he said. "We are convinced, and all UN Security Councilmembers agree with that that the Afghan settlement prospects still look uncertain," Lavrov said. "We are alarmed over the situation on the Afghan-Tajik and Afghan-Turkmen border, where various militant groups, including the Islamic State, have been active. We find growing narcotic drugs production in and trafficking from Afghanistan worrisome."


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