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Russia ready to actively support forces fighting with terrorists on ground — FM

December 23, 2015, 12:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party of Turkey Selahattin Demirtas
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Co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party of Turkey Selahattin Demirtas and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party of Turkey Selahattin Demirtas and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Russia is ready to actively cooperate with the forces in Syria who are fighting against terrorists on the ground, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday opening a meeting with co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party of Turkey Selahattin Demirtas.

"We hope that during your stay in Moscow we will be able to discuss the situation in the region," Lavrov said. "As part of the efforts of the international community to resolve the Syrian crisis, it is crucially important to bring together the opportunities of all those who aim at resolutely fighting against terrorism."

"We know that Iraqi and Syrian Kurds are confronting the threat of ISIS [former name of the Islamic State terrorist group outlawed in Russia - TASS] and other extremist groups ‘on the ground’ with weapons in their hands," the minister said. "They, together with the army of Iraq, the army of Syria are fighting for their homes, for the right to live on their land. This is their inalienable right, just as the rights of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities to remain on the lands of their ancestors and not to be subjected to deadly threats from terrorists."

Lavrov noted that "Russia, being involved in the anti-terrorist coalition in Syria at the request of the Syrian government, is ready to actively support the forces on the ground who are countering this threat."

Relations between Russian, Turkish peoples to remain friendly

According to the Russian minister, the relations between the peoples of Russia and Turkey will remain friendly despite the actions of the current Turkish leadership, which authorized the attack on Russia’s Sukhoi Su-24 warplane.

"We are living through a period, which is not the best in the Russian-Turkish relations…," Lavrov said. "However, our attitude towards the attack authorized by the current Turkish leadership against the Russian aircraft that was carrying out an anti-terror mission in no way extends to our attitude towards the entire Turkish people."

"This attitude is friendly, it is based on trust, the history of coexistence side by side, joint projects in the cultural, humanitarian and economic areas. I am sure all this will remain unchanged," the minister said.

Problems in bilateral relations should be resolved diplomatically

Сo-leader of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party Selahattin Demirtas in his turn noted that the outstanding problems in Russian-Turkish relations must be settled by diplomatic means in order to ensure the people of the two countries be not harmed.

"We are living through a very complex period of aggravation of Russian-Turkish relations," he said. "In parallel, historic-scale solutions in the Middle East will have to be looked for."

Demirtash said his party was pressing for pluralism and for ensuring the rights of different cultures.

"This is a fundamental position of ours: we safeguard internal peace in the country and we are for preserving peace in relations with neighbors," he said.

Demirtash recalled that his party as a representative of the opposition had criticized the Turkish authorities after the attack against Russia’s Sukhoi-24 plane over Syria.

"Problems between states can emerge again and again, but they should always be resolved by diplomatic means. A solution must be found that would not harm our peoples, because the people may suffer the most," he said.

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