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Kremlin: Extending humanitarian pause in Aleppo is Putin’s independent decision

October 22, 2016, 13:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The decision did not come from his meeting with leaders of Germany and France in Berlin, the president’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said
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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

© Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

MOSCOW, October 22. /TASS/. The decision to extend the humanitarian pause in Aleppo was made by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on his own, it did not come from his meeting with leaders of Germany and France in Berlin.

"It is an independent decision," the president’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with the Vesti V Subbotu weekly television program on Saturday.

The press secretary said, the U.S. side had limited contacts with Russia, which were devoted to fighting the Islamic State. Peskov did not rule out it could be related also to the election campaign in the U.S.

"No doubt, say, the life in state of an election campaign has always affected everything happening inside the U.S. and everything the U.S. is doing beyond its borders," he said. "It is clear to us: no matter what is behind it, what wish, say, to perpetuate someone's role in history and so forth, but if this victory over the Islamic State is possible, it is a very important victory, it may only cause satisfaction."

While commenting on the operation against IS in Mosul, the press secretary noted many associations with the situation in Aleppo. In a response to a question why before the operation in Mosul Putin had called the Iraqi prime minister, not the U.S. side, Peskov said "despite the refusal of our American counterparts to cooperate further on, thank God, some routes of exchanging information are still working."

"As for the Iraqi prime minister, that conversation was initiated by the Iraqi side," he said.

Either Assad is in Damascus, or in Damascus is Nusra

If Syria's President Bashar Assad quit, it would have caused victory of terrorists, new flows of refugees and upsurge of terrorist attacks, it would have made impossible a political settlement in Syria, Dmitry Peskov said.

"Some countries are trying to play with the Devil and try getting rid from Assad by using terrorists, and some simply say thoughtlessly that Assad should quit," but they "would not say shamefully when asked - what happens as the Syrian leader quits."

"We have two options: either Assad is in Damascus, or in Damascus is Nusra (outlawed in Russia Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorist organization - TASS)," he said. "No third option now. An in order to approach a political settlement, in Damascus should be Assad."

"If Damascus falls and terrorists are there, then no political settlement would be, then those terrorists would not listen to any owners, to any puppeteers. Then will emerge new waves of refugees. Then will happen new trucks in Cannes, God forbid, and so on and so forth," he said.

"Thus, it is complicated to overestimate the role Russia is playing to support the Syrian Armed Forces in fighting Jabhat Al-Nusra, in fighting the Islamic State (terrorist organization outlawed in Russia - TASS)."

"Anyway, this way or another, the problem of Syria should be settled," he said. "And it may be settled only in the format of a multilateral cooperation, thus anyway it would be necessary to bring closer positons, to bring closer understanding."

Now, "there are fewer people" who demand Assad should leave, and at the recent talks in Berlin between leaders of Russia, Germany and France "that was not at all the key.".

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