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Air strikes at IS decrease global terrorist threat — Russian deputy foreign minister

October 16, 2015, 19:54 UTC+3
Without timely Russian air strikes, the IS danger would have kept growing and would have eventually reached Russia, Oleg Syromolotov, the Russian deputy foreign minister, told TASS
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MOSCOW, October 16 /TASS/. Manifestations of terrorism are possible in Russia but the air strikes at the IS positions are decreasing the terrorist threat in Syria, Oleg Syromolotov, the Russian deputy foreign minister responsible for counteraction to terrorism, told TASS.

"Military strikes at IS (positions) in Syria are going to decrease by times and have already decreased the threat coming from the global terrorist international with the IS in the vanguard for Russia and the rest of the world," Syromolotov said.

"Without our air strikes, so timely and so impeccably legitimate, the IS danger would have kept growing and would have eventually reached Russia. For the moment, we are effectively preventing this scenario," the Russian diplomat stressed.

Russia has been making purposeful and systemic efforts to curb terrorism, primarily in its own territory, for many years.

"These measures are being taken by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s chief body for dealing with such matters; as well as other law enforcement agencies and security services under the supervision of the National Anti-Terror Committee," Syromolotov went on to say.

"The talk is about a state system of counteraction to terrorism in the country’s territory. I believe that we have a progressive and quite effective legislation in this field which in fact meets the highest world standards," the Russian diplomat stressed.

"The institutes of domestic civil society, the media, the commercial sector as well as scientific and education establishments have been getting more actively involved in this work in recent years with an aim to prevent the terrorist ideology from sprawling further," Syromolotov said. "These joint efforts by the state and to a larger degree by society and citizens are designed to make us more protected against the IS man-hateful concepts," Syromolotov said.

The Russian diplomat said that international terrorism had suffered a crushing defeat in the North Caucasus thanks to an energetic and well-considered socio-economic, national and religious policy of the federal center and the local authorities that accompanied operations to liquidate armed terrorist groups.

"The results are obvious to any objective observer. It is clear that we cannot stop at what we have achieved. That is why the authorities and law enforcers in the republics of the North Caucasus continue their vigilant and effective work," Syromolotov said.

Russia concerned with spread of Afghan terrorist threat

Russia is deeply concerned with the situation in Afghanistan and the spread of terrorist threat to the neighboring central Asian countries, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov went on to say.

"Afghanistan is the most dangerous hotbed of terrorist activities, which may spread to Central Asia," Syromolotov said. "I would like to note that terrorism today is not just the Islamic State. Al-Qaeda and Afghanistan’s Taliban are competing in violence and extremism with the IS. Their danger is aggravated with connection between terrorism and drug trafficking in Afghanistan."

"The joint measures of Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member-states in order to counteract the threats are becoming more and more important."

Terrorists with Russian passports not to be stripped of citizenship

According to Syromolotov, terrorists with Russian passports fighting for the Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria will not be stripped of citizenship.

"Russia will not prevent from returning [to Russia]," he said. "We have no right to ban Russian citizens from the return, but in each particular case we will follow current counterterrorism legislation."

He said under the Russian Criminal Code terrorists and their sponsors and accomplices will face "a strict punishment no matter of what passports they have."

According to Deputy Foreign Minister, about 2,200 people from Russia are currently fighting for IS and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria and some of them are returning to Russia.

More than 125 criminal cases have been launched in Russia against suspected terrorists.

Efforts needed to stop illegal oil trade to fight IS successfully

Russia considers it necessary to halt illegal trade in oil and oil products in Syria and Iraq to successfully fight terror groups in the Middle East, in particular, the Islamic State terrorist organization, Deputy Foreign Minister for Terrorism Fighting Oleg Syromolotov told TASS.

“On Russia’s initiative, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2199 to fight the financing of terrorist organizations, first of all, financing through the illegal trade in oil and oil products from the territory of Syria and Iraq,” the deputy foreign minister said.

“The degree of particular states’ responsible approach to fulfilling this document will be the most important factor of the international community’s success in the struggle against the IS and the terror groupings in the Middle East cooperating with it,” he added.

“The only question is the availability of the political will for fulfilling these requirements and, as we can note unfortunately, far from all show this will,” the deputy foreign minister said.
 
“In this regard, Russia is taking efforts so that all of the UN member states submit information to the UN Security Council on the facts of terrorists’ illegal trade in oil and report on countermeasures they are taking,” the deputy foreign minister said.

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