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Putin: International anti-terror coalition still possible

November 16, 2015, 17:43 UTC+3

The Russian president also said that he had told his G20 colleagues what he knew about channels of financial support for terrorists

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© Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian president's press service/TASS

ANTALYA, November 16. /TASS/. The formation of an international counter-terrorism coalition is still possible, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

"I think that this is not only possible but necessary," Putin told reporters.

He said cooperation should be both at the political level and between special services.

The Russian leader said he had called for the coalition’s formation in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September. "The tragic events that followed only confirmed that we are right," Putin stressed.

"There is nothing difficult here. It is necessary to establish concrete work to forestall and prevent terror attacks and fight terrorism on a global scale. We also suggested joining efforts in fighting the Islamic State," the Russian president said adding that regretfully the United States had turned down Russia’s proposal for cooperation.

"Life develops very quickly and teaches us lessons. It seems that now everybody has come to realize that struggle is possible only if we join efforts," Putin stressed.

"We have always been open to this cooperation. We assume that this cooperation can be established both at the political level and between special services which should actively cooperate with each other, exchange information, help each other and warn each other about dangers," the Russian president said.

He called attention to the fact that the foreign ministers were now working together on compiling the lists of terrorist organizations. According to Putin, the aim of fighting terrorism is to reach a political settlement in Syria.

According to the president, it is to be decided who terrorists and political opponents in Syria are, in order to create conditions for settling crisis. Russia is ready to support the fight of armed Syrian opposition against Islamic State to help the future settlement, he added.

"Part of the armed opposition believes it is possible to begin, with Russia’s support, an active military campaign against the Islamic State. We are ready to provide such air support," he said. "If that happens, there may emerge a solid basis for further political settlement efforts."

Putin urged other countries to join that work.

"We do need support from the United States, the European countries, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran," he said.

Putin disagreed Russia had come under criticism from the world community for its operation in Syria.

"It’s very hard to criticize us," he said. He recalled that Russia had more than once asked its partners to identify the targets that were worth attacking.

"Somebody is reluctant to name the territories not to be attacked for fear we will deceive everybody and deal strikes precisely there," Putin said. "Apparently, others are judging us proceeding from their ideas of decency."

Putin also said that Russia had established contacts with part of the irreconcilable armed opposition in Syria "in the field". These opposition groups asked Russia to refrain from attacking areas they control.

40 countries financing terrorists in Syria

Putin also said that he had told his G20 colleagues what he knew about channels of financial support for terrorists.

"I discussed it with my colleagues. I hope that we will continue this work which is extremely important for fighting terrorism," Putin told a briefing on results of the G20 summit.

"As we have established, financing comes from 40 countries, including some countries members of G20," he told reporters, adding that this issue had been discussed at the G20 summit in the Turkish Antalya.

"We discussed the necessity for the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution that was passed upon Russia’s initiative, on preventing the financing of terrorism and on preventing illegal trade in pieces of art that terrorists plunder in the territories they seize," the Russian leader said.

He said G20 leaders had also discussed ways to prevent illegal oil trade and income generation from that. "Moreover, I even showed our colleagues our images taken from space and planes which clearly show the scope that illegal trade in oil and oil products acquires: convoys of fuel transporters stretching by dozens of kilometers," Putin said.

"Of course, we discussed that issue with colleagues, and I hope we will continue this work that in my opinion is extremely important for anti-terrorism fight," the Russian leader added.

Putin certain struggle against IS is higher priority than political reform in Syria

Putin stressed he is certain that the Islamic State should be suppressed first, before reform in Syria can be discussed.

"What we should do first thing is to pool our efforts in the struggle against terror and terrorist organizations and to agree political reform on that basis," he told the media after the G20 summit.

Putin warned against trying to judge which country was more effective in fighting against the IS. He said it was essential to pool efforts for the sake of struggle against the common threat.

Putin said that no country should feel secure against terrorist attacks. As an example he mentioned France, which had taken a hard line against Bashar Assad.

"Did that protect Paris from a terrorist attack? It didn’t," Putin said.

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