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Russian, French General Staff chiefs confirm intention to preserve undivided Syria

December 24, 2015, 14:27 UTC+3 MOSCOW
De Villiers said at a meeting with Gerasimov on Wednesday that it was time for Russia and France to unite their efforts in the struggle against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra
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Local residents in a street in the Dahaniya neighborhood of the Syrian capital, Damascus

Local residents in a street in the Dahaniya neighborhood of the Syrian capital, Damascus

© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, December 24. /TASS/. Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov and his French counterpart Pierre de Villiers confirmed their intention at their meeting in Moscow to keep an undivided and secular Syria, the press office of Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

"Following the meeting, the sides confirmed their general understanding that Russia and France are seeking to keep Syria an undivided, secular and multi-confessional state," the press office said.

The Russian Defense Ministry stressed that Gerasimov and Villiers "agreed to continue bilateral contacts."

De Villiers said at a meeting with Gerasimov on Wednesday that it was time for Russia and France to unite their efforts in the struggle against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations (both outlawed in Russia).

"We have a common goal with you," the French general said.

Russia has been delivering air strikes against terrorists in Syria since September 30 at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The French military is also delivering strikes against militants in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in November he had agreed with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on exchanging data on terrorists. He also instructed the Russian military to establish direct contact and interaction with the French counterparts.

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