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US undermines Syria ceasefire agreements – Putin

October 12, 2016, 23:59 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Putin said the United States repeatedly undermined the agreements, in which Washington was entrusted with the job of separating terrorists from Syria’s moderate opposition

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, October 12. /TASS/. The United States has undermined the Syria ceasefire agreements although Russia met US counterparts halfway, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the French TF1 TV channel.

"Our ceasefire agreements were undermined by the opposite side, but not by us," Putin said, explaining how the talks with the US were ongoing.

Russia insisted that first, terrorists should be separated from moderate opposition in Syria and second, a ceasefire should be declared. Washington supported the reverse order of events.

"Finally, we made concessions and reached an agreement. On September 12, a day of silence was declared but on September 16 the US air forces delivered strikes on the Syrian army, leaving 80 people dead," the Russian president said. "Instantly, right after the air strike, ISIL (abbreviation for Islamic State, a terrorist group outlawed in Russia) launched an offensive in that section."

"Our US counterparts told me that it was an erroneous strike," he went on to say. "The error killed 80 people, though."

"Perhaps, ISIL quite accidentally mounted an offensive after that strike," Putin said ironically, pointing out that a US defense official said openly that the US had been preparing the air strike for several days.

"How could they have mistaken if they had been preparing for it? How could it be possible?" he asked rhetorically.

Besides, Putin noted the United States repeatedly undermined the agreements, in which Washington was entrusted with the job of separating terrorists from Syria’s moderate opposition, and deadlines were even set for the purpose. "Nothing has been done! From month to month!" Putin said.

Prospects for resolution

The Russian president insists that the process of seeking a political solution to the Syria conflict be continued. "We are not giving up optimism and are hopeful that we would manage to persuade our counterparts and partners that it is the only way," Putin said.

"No-one should deliver political rhetoric but should look for a way out of the situation, including in Syria," he said. "What is the way out? It must be the only one: the parties to the conflict should be reasoned into following the path of a political solution," he added.

"We have reached an agreement with (Syrian) President (Bashar) Assad. He gave his consent to adopt a new constitution and to hold elections based on the constitution," Putin said, noting "provided the people do not vote for President Assad, the power will be changed in a democratic way, strictly controlled by international bodies, by the UN, but not through outside armed interference."

"I cannot understand whom it cannot suit as it is a democratic way to solve the issue," Putin said.

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