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Medvedev: Russia open for dialogue with U.S. on Syria

October 17, 2015, 14:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

U.S. manages to achieve nothing in Syria; only Russia changes situation there, he said

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MOSCOW, October 17. /TASS/. Russia is taking the first step towards the U.S. and it is open for a dialogue on fighting terrorism in Syria, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Vesti V Subbotu weekly television programme.

"Let’s see," he said in response to a question whether Moscow expects Washington to change its scepticism for contacts with Russia on these issues. "Let’s see what decisions they (the U.S.) will be taking."

"Anyway, I would like to repeat once again: clearly, in this respect this country is making the first step, and we are ready for a dialogue," Medvedev said.

"We are open for discussing any issues," he said adding President Putin had told exactly the same.

"The U.S. refusal to discuss with Russia fighting terrorism in Syria is silly"

Russia’s Prime Minister also calls "silly behaviour" the refusal of the U.S. to send over to Russia or to accept in the U.S. a Russian delegation to discuss fighting terrorism and the Syrian settlement.

"You know, this is what I say: I believe it is a silly behaviour," he said. "By these decisions or by the refusal from talks the Americans demonstrate their weakness."

"In my opinion, it is a weak positon of short-seeing, as strong leaders and countries, who undertake responsibilities, in cases of the kind agree to enter talks even in situations their views differ," Medvedev said. "Anyway, we have never avoided talks."

The prime minister did not share the opinion in case of a visit to the U.S. he would be appointed head of the Russian delegation due to his good relations with the U.S. President Barack Obama at the times of his presidency.

"I do not think human aspects matter here; interests are above all," he said.

Medvedev continued saying the Russian side suggested exchanging the delegations "practically immediately as the military mission began."

"Our behaviour in that respect was purely in interests of counterparts - both the Russian president spoke to his counterpart, and the foreign ministry had consultations, but the signal, of course, was made already as the military actions began," he said.

As the problem of spreading of the Islamic State terrorist group emerged in the Middle East, the U.S. invited Russia to fight it jointly.

"But to fight how? In order to fight, it is necessary to realise on who the fight will be targeted," he said. "Jointly with the Syrian authorities, we have, of course, picked several targets, the supreme commander made the decision, and the Armed Forces are carrying out the work. The Americans are not satisfied, they are telling us either the strikes are aimed wrongly, or the targets are wrong."

Russia has suggested to the U.S. to discuss the targets, he said. "They tell us: ‘No, we are not showing them.’ So, what sort of cooperation is that?"

The U.S. called on Russia "to settle the task in a complex, to agree on Syria’s future, to discuss the future of Assad, to continue political settlements," Medvedev said. "Thus came the idea of a political delegation; and that delegation could discuss most different issues, beginning from the military-expert to political, related to national dialogues, or settlement."

"The reply from the U.S. Administration is shocking: ‘No, we do not need it. Russia’s behaviour is not correct, and thus a dialogue is impossible.’," Medvedev said.

Russia’s intention to discuss political aspects caused bewilderment, he said.

"It is most important to discuss the political issues," Medvedev said. "Important to Russia, the U.S., all countries interested in peace in the region and Syria, in having normal power there."

"U.S. in Syria demonstrate lack of force, competence"

Dmitry Medvedev agrees the U.S. Administration demonstrates a lack of force and competence in Syria.

"Here is a very serious conflict, and it is necessary to react to it, and the reaction of the U.S. current administration is rather weird," he said commenting on the situation in Syria. "What are main claims addressed to the U.S. Administration? It allows to itself what is unacceptable - weakness, indecision, incompetence - well, it simply does not undertake measures to protect certain interests," the Russian prime minister said. "I cannot say whether it is so or not, this is their business, but anyway, judging by the statements we heard last week, including by some officials at the White House, that seems to be true."

"U.S. manages to achieve nothing in Syria"

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria has not achieved anything over the term of its mission there. Changing the situation there regarding fighting terrorists there became possible only with the mission of the Russian Armed Forces there, Medvedev said.

"Well, clearly the result from their (U.S.) activities in that region in fighting IS (Islamic State) is practically zero, IS continues spreading," the Russian prime minister said. "Russia’s interference only has changed the situation."

Medvedev said in the time of his presidency, he visited Syria (in May, 2010 - TASS.).

"By the way, I may be one of those few who managed to be in Syria and to see how Syria lived before the war," he said.

"You know what, it was a normal, rather modern country. A peaceful country, where monuments were not ruined, where the economy was normal," he said. "And who knows what happens there now; it is a most grave result of recent years.".

"It is not of major importance to Russia Assad is head of country; this is concern of Syrians"

Russia is fighting in Syria not for some leaders, including President Bashar Assad, but for its own national interests. It will be the Syrian people, who will decide who will run the Syrian Arab Republic, Russia’s Prime Minister said.

"Of course, we are fighting not for certain leaders, we are fighting for our own national interests, on one hand," he said recollecting the Russian president saying if the terrorists in Syria are not killed they would later on come to Russia. "And secondly - we have a request from the legal authorities; this is our position."

"It is not of major important who will be running (Syria)," Medvedev said. "We do not want IS to be running the Syrian Republic, don’t we? Right? That should be civilised, legitimate power."

Medvedev replied in the negative to the question if it matters for Russia Bashar Assad remains at power.

"Now," he said. "Who will be the leader of Syria is an issue to be decided by the Syrian people," he said.

"Our current position is that the legitimate president is Assad," Medvedev said.

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