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Kremlin regrets US rejected talks with Russia on Syrian settlement

October 14, 2015, 20:21 UTC+3

Moscow suggested that a high-ranking delegation should head to Washington with the aim to establish contacts there for battling terrorism and for resolving the Syrian conflict

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Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

ASTANA, October 14. /TASS/. The Kremlin regrets that the United States has rejected top-level talks with Russia on the Syrian settlement, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

"We can just express regret," Peskov said. "Any refusal to start dialogue, moreover in such a sensitive situation like we have in Syria, does not facilitate, let's say so, the soonest salvation of that country and the whole region from the so-called Islamic State," he said reassuring that Moscow would continue "to provide support to the Syrian army’s offensive operations."

Peskov specified that Putin’s proposal to appoint Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as head of the delegation to Washington - to establish contacts there for a joint struggle against terrorism and for settlement of the Syrian conflict - testified to the fact Moscow attached great significance to this aspect.

"It was a decision of the head of state, Putin’s decision [about Medvedev’s candidature]," he said. "It underscores that Russia offers a higher level for such negotiations. We know that Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov is in constant contact with his counterpart [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry but in this case a higher level has been accentuated."

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called to be more serious about the work with partners on the Syrian settlement and suggested a Russian delegation be led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. "I said we are ready to send a big delegation to Washington to discuss, first of all, issues of the Syrian settlement," Putin said on Tuesday. "I think it can be a serious and representative delegation from Russia led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev."

Putin said the delegation might include the top ranking military, such as a deputy chief of the General Staff, and security officers. "This work is to be taken to a serious, substantive level, if we want to work really efficiently," Putin said, adding it was likewise important to work with the countries of the region too, including with Turkey, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq.

"Yes, there are many mutual suspicions and mutual accusations, but if we don’t work towards a solution, it could never be found," he said. "We hope we will be able to move along the path of settling political problems."

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier on Wednesday that the United States had refused to receive the top-level Russian delegation for talks on Syria and also said would not visit Moscow.

Lavrov said the US side was ready "to coordinate measures to prevent air accidents in the crisis region."

"Today we got a reply that they cannot send a delegation to Moscow and receive a [Russian] delegation in Washington," he said. "American colleagues are interested only in steps that could help avoid such accidents."

"It is somewhat bitter but certainly, Russian pilots and U.S. pilots need to understand while high up in the sky over Syria who does what in order to avoid accidents," Lavrov said. "The president has supported it. But we are ready to move forward and cooperate far more, in particular to reach the goal announced by the US-led coalition over a year ago - to destroy the Islamic State."

The minister added that the US refusal to cooperate to destroy the Islamic State terrorists raised certain concerns.

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