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Russia does not indulge in replacing governments in other countries — Foreign Ministry

October 29, 2015, 16:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova commented on statements by the US Department of State spokesman about the planned discussion of the composition of the interim Syrian government
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Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova

© Artyom Korotayev/TASS

MOSCOW, October 29. /TASS/. Russia does not indulge in replacing governments in other countries, including in Syria, the meeting in Vienna has different tasks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Thursday commenting on statements by US Department of State spokesman John Kirby about the planned discussion of the composition of the interim Syrian government during the talks in Vienna.

"These are the plans of the United States. As a sovereign country, it may discuss whatever it wants," she said. "Discussing and shaping future governments is no business of ours."

"Our task is to promote the political process in Syria on the basis of the existing international legal documents," she said. "The meeting [in Vienna] is to focus on this. Only then it will be constructive."

Moscow open for cooperation with all countries in fight against Islamic State

According to the spokeswoman Moscow is open to cooperation with all countries in fighting against the Islamic State terrorist group.

"Politicians are entitled to making statements, and we should analyze them," Zakharova said commenting on the proposal made by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy "to unite two coalitions fighting against IS in Syria." "I do not see anything contradictory in Sarkozy’s statements. We are open for cooperation with all countries in the fight against IS," she said.

Zakharova reminded that Russia has set up a coordination center in Baghdad precisely with this aim. "Is it closed? On the contrary, we invite everyone to join it. We maintain active contacts with all countries. We are ready and open for cooperation with them on fighting against IS," she said.

Talking about political settlement in Syria, she stressed that Moscow "has never stopped this work even for one month." "Our ambassadors, our representatives are maintaining contacts that should facilitate the search for common ground between the Syrian opposition and Damascus. If conditions emerge for an additional meeting in Moscow or not in Moscow, we will make all efforts for such constructive work," Zakharova said.

Russia launches airstrikes in Syria

Russian Aerospace Forces started a military operation against the Islamic State terrorist group (which is banned in Russia) in the Syrian territory at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on September 30. The air group in Syria includes more than 50 warplanes, including Su-34 and Su-24M bombers; Su-25 assault aircraft; Su-30SM fighter jets as well as Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters. The Russian Navy is also involved in the military operation. The warships of the Russian Caspian flotilla delivered a massive cruise missile strike from the Kalibr-class sea-based missile system on the night to October 7.

The Russian authorities have totally excluded a possibility of any ground campaign in Syria.

Islamic State terrorist group

The Islamic State is an extremist organization banned in Russia. In 2013-2014, it called itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In June 2014, IS announce the establishment of the "Islamic caliphate" on the territories seized in Iraq and Syria. According to US’ Central Intelligence Agency, the extremist group includes around 30,000 people, while Iraqi authorities claim there are around 200,000 in IS. Among members of the group are citizens of 80 countries, including France, Great Britain, Germany, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, US, Canada, as well as Russia and other CIS countries. According to reports, militants now control around 40% of the Iraqi territory and 50% of the Syrian territory.

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