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Russian diplomat says NATO needs to abandon political ambition to join US-led coalition

May 25, 2017, 19:05 UTC+3 MOSCOW

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he expected NATO to join the US-led coalition

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MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. NATO may join the US-led international coalition active in Syria only if it abandons its political ambition, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters on Thursday.

"As for NATO joining the coalition, I honestly don’t know about their plans," he said.

"If they (NATO) really seek to fight against terrorism and cooperate with others in the war on terror, then it is possible (for NATO to join the coalition)," he added. "But if they have other political goals, then questions will arise," Gatilov added.

"Our aim is to unite everyone to combat Islamic extremism, fight against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terror groups (both outlawed in Russia)," the Russian diplomat added. "In this regard, we are always ready to cooperate and set up a broad international coalition," he concluded.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he expected NATO to join the US-led coalition. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in turn, said that the alliance would make a decision on joining the coalition. "This will send a strong political message of NATO's commitment to the fight against terrorism," he pointed out stressing that it did not mean that NATO would participate in military operations.

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