MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. US Senator John McCain’s statement to the effect Russia has achieved the position of a leading player in the Middle East indicates that the United States recognizes Moscow’s growing international influence on key processes in the world, the deputy secretary of the United Russia party’s General Council, Sergey Zheleznyak, told the media on Wednesday.
McCain (a Republican from Arizona), notorious for his anti-Russian rhetoric, said on the MSNBC network Russian President Vladimir Putin had propelled Russia to the position of a leading player in the Middle East, while the United States had to feel contented it had been invited to participate in Syrian settlement talks, due in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana later this month.
"That Senator McCain, an ardent Russophobe, has recognized Russia’s leading role in efforts to settle the conflict in the Middle East indicates that even the most outspoken supporters of anti-Russian policies in the United States have to agree with the growing international influence of our country on key processes in the world," said Zheleznyak, a member of the State Duma’s international affairs committee.
He pointed out that "Russia’s coalition with Turkey and Iran, created for resolving the Syrian problem, has demonstrated Russia’s readiness to cooperate in the interests of peace and stability with other countries, including the United States."
"We have always suggested brushing aside political controversies and presenting a common front against terrorism. We have now proved our effectiveness," Zheleznyak said. He believes that "the operation in Syria has not just demonstrated the high combat readiness of Russia’s armed forces, but also enhanced Russia’s diplomatic success."
"In cooperation with our partners we have managed to achieve comprehensive truce in Syria in order to put an end to insane bloodshed and lay the groundwork for the beginning of an intra-Syrian political dialog, which is to be continued in Astana shortly," Zheleznyak said.
On December 29 Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the conclusion of a ceasefire agreement in Syria and the readiness of the government and the armed opposition to enter into negotiations. Syrian government officials and the opposition are scheduled to meet in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on January 23. The list of participants has not been announced officially yet, but according to Reuters most armed groups are going to attend the meeting, expected to discuss the observance of ceasefire, humanitarian aid and the release of prisoners of war.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has not confirmed yet a US delegation has been invited to the Astana talks.