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US strategy in fight with IS ill-defined though pursues right goals — Ryabkov

October 16, 2014, 8:34 UTC+3 VIENNA
There is again considerable neglect of international law and again the aberration of opinions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov says
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Smoke rises after an apparent US-led coalition airstrike on Minaze village near Kobane, Syria

Smoke rises after an apparent US-led coalition airstrike on Minaze village near Kobane, Syria

© EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

VIENNA, October 16. /TASS/. Russia believes that the United States’ strategy in its fight with the Islamic State, while pursuing right goals, is ill-defined and neglects international law, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters.

“Russia believes that the strategy, the policy the United States has defined in this sphere, though pursuing right goals, is ill-defined,” Ryabkov said. “There is again considerable neglect of international law and again the aberration of opinions — whose hands these or those terrorists are playing into," the diplomat said.

International consensus needed in fight against IS

On Wednesday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia has never backed off from counter-terrorism effort and is convinced that countering the rise of the Islamic State (IS) group needs an international consensus.

“The point is for all decisions on combating terrorist activities to be based on international consensus. Not on a decision taken by one country, even a highly respected one, but international consensus,” Medvedev said in an interview with the CNBC TV channel, answering a question on Russia’s stance on the IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

Infographics Fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq Fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq
US-led coalition continues to deliver air strikes at positions of IS militants and infrastructure facilities in Syria. Government forces contain militants on approaches to Baghdad in Iraq.

Medvedev said the United States went beyond insisting on Syrian President Bashar Assad leaving office, but in fact is “trying to establish separate contacts within the leadership of the Syrian Republic.” “We’ve never backed off from counter-terrorism cooperation, and we have examples of successful cooperation. However, the mandate for counter-terrorism operations must be obtained in accordance with international law, that is, the UN Charter, and on the basis of a consensus,” he said. “It’s always bad when it is done on the basis of decisions taken by individual governments, even if they have good intentions,” Medvedev said.

This has happened on many occasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is happening now in Syria, he said. “And there may be only one legitimate question: if this kind of action is really needed, then it’s essential to achieve a common position and get the go-ahead from the legitimate government of Syria,” Medvedev said. The Russian prime minister said the central government of Syria is the “sole bearer of the sovereignty of the Syrian people” and this “needs to be kept in mind when discussing any kind of action.” 

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