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Lavrov hopes US will keep promise on separating Syrian opposition, terrorists

November 02, 2016, 13:36 UTC+3 ATHENS

Moscow calls to solve all issues not through regime change, but through an inclusive political dialogue between all ethnic and religious groups

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ATHENS, November 2. /TASS/. Moscow still expects Washington to meet its commitments on the separation of opposition from terrorists in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is currently on a two-day visit to Greece, said on Wednesday.

"I remember well that when we adopted this resolution (on Syria) John Kerry said that those who want to take part in the settlement should immediately break ties with terrorists. These were the golden words, and we still expect that they will be put into action and confirmed," Lavrov said at the meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

Lavrov recalled that the UN Security Council resolution was passed after lengthy talks chaired by Russia and the US as part of the International Syria Support Group. The document outlined the comprehensive approach towards resolving the Syrian crisis.

"The resolution stipulates the immediate launch of political talks without preconditions, easing the humanitarian situation that in many parts of Syria is just critical and envisages uncompromising struggle against terrorists. Those opposition groups that want to take part in the political settlement should break all relations with ISIL (former name of IS terrorist group) and Jabhat Al-Nusra and separate themselves from them," he said.

At the height of the Arab spring, Moscow called to solve all issues not through regime change, but through an inclusive political dialogue between all ethnic and religious groups in Egypt, Libya and Syria, Russia’s top diplomat said. The situation later stabilized in Egypt, and Moscow backs this process. "In Libya, unfortunately, there is no state, it needs to be created from scratch. The UN is dealing with this issue, and we try to support this," he added.

Russia, US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey seek to solve Syrian crisis together

According to the diplomat, Russia continues its efforts to cooperate with the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to solve the Syrian crisis.

"We continue to cooperate with the Americans, representatives of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, we are searching for an opportunity to solve this crisis," he noted.

"We have been trying to solve the Aleppo problem for several months, we even clinched some agreements with the US. Unfortunately, after the deal had been agreed on, the US in fact withdrew from it. We have been repeatedly initiating humanitarian pauses, however, neither Russian nor Syrian warplanes have been conducting airstrikes in the Aleppo area for two weeks now. Nevertheless, each time the extremists take advantage of the humanitarian pauses to swell their ranks and restock their weapons," the Russian minister emphasized.

According to Lavrov, Jabhat al-Nusra (terror group, outlawed in Russia) has been in control of eastern Aleppo, other armed groups that have been actually holding the civilians hostage, are subordinates, who take orders from al-Nusra.

Lavrov also noted that "those who have been violating the UN Security Council’s resolutions and indulging the terrorists unwilling to negotiate but just seeking to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad government, are now thwarting the peace process." "If the UN Security Council’s resolutions on a settlement for Syria had earnestly been implemented by all parties, then the situation would have been different, it would have changed for the better," Lavrov stated.

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