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Putin: Early to speak of Russia’s readiness for military participation in fight against IS

September 04, 2015, 6:09 UTC+3

Speaking on supporting Syria with armament, Putin said this concerns the contracts signed some five or seven years ago

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

VLADIVOSTOK, September 4. /TASS/. It is early to speak about the possibility of Russia’s participation in military operations against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

"We consider various possibilities, but now what you have mentioned [participation in military operations] is not yet on our agenda," Putin told reporters at the Eastern Economic Forum.

"We will hold consultations with our Syrian friends and the countries of the region," he said.

"Speaking that we are ready to do it today is premature, but we are providing Syria with a rather serious support and equipment and training forces with armament," Putin stressed.

The Russian president said this is "a separate topic" in the context of the fight against terrorism. He reminded that the US is carrying out its airstrikes on the IS targets now, but this has not produced any tangible result so far.

Speaking on supporting Syria with armament, Putin said this concerns the contracts signed some five or seven years ago. "We are performing them in full," he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday rejected media reports about possible participation of Russian Armed Forces in airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. "You should not believe these media reports," Peskov told journalists.

Several foreign media outlets reported earlier that Russian aviation may take part in carrying out airstrikes against IS positions in Syria. Reports said equipment has already been transferred to conduct the operation.

The president noted that Russia is taking certain steps on setting up an international anti-terrorism coalition, and the first results show that in general such a coordination of efforts is possible.

"We take certain steps and we are doing this in public," Putin told reporters at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.

"Indeed, we want to create an international coalition on the fight against terrorism and extremism, and to this aim, we hold consultations with our American partners," Putin said, adding that he discussed this in a phone conversation with US President Barack Obama.

Putin also discussed the issue with the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and other countries.

The Russian leader said most recently the heads of General Staffs of countries adjacent to these conflicts arrived in Moscow. "We continue political efforts on uniting and creating a coalition," he said.

Putin aadmitted that there are different approaches to the situation in Syria. "By the way, people are not escaping the Bashar Assad regime, they are running from the Islamic State, which has seized the territories [in Syria and Iraq]."

Anti-terrorism fight should go hand in hand with Syria political process 

The president said the fight against terrorism should come in parallel with the political process in Syria and President Bashar Assad is ready for certain steps in this direction.

"We understand that political changes are needed. We carry out work and also with our partners in Syria itself," Putin told reporters.

"In general, there is understanding that combining efforts in the fight against terrorism should come in parallel with some political process in Syria itself," the president said.

Syria’s president agrees with this "up to holding early parliamentary elections, establishing contacts with the so-called wise opposition and attracting them for governing," he said.

"We are not imposing anything, but we are ready to contribute to this intra-Syrian dialogue," Putin said.

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