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US still seeks dialogue with Russia on flight safety over Syria — Pentagon

April 07, 2017, 18:00 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

On Thursday night, the US forces fired 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles on a Syrian military air base

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© AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

WASHINGTON, April 7. /TASS/. Washington still wants to maintain dialogue with Russia on ensuring flight safety in the skies over Syria, US Defense Department Spokesperson Michelle Baldanza told TASS on Friday, commenting on Russia’s decision to suspend the memorandum on flight safety in Syria.

"The Department of Defense maintains the desire for dialogue through the flight safety channel. It is to the benefit of all parties operating in the air over Syria to avoid accidents and miscalculation, and we hope the Russian Ministry of Defense comes to this conclusion as well," she said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said earlier on Friday it has suspended cooperation with the United States military under the memorandum on preventing dangerous encounters in Syria’s air space. "We consider these steps taken by the United States to be a blatant violation of the 2015 Memorandum on preventing military incidents and ensuring security during operations in Syria’s air space. 

The Russian Defense Ministry is suspending cooperation with Pentagon aimed at the implementation of the memorandum," the ministry’s spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said.

The Memorandum, drawn up in October 2015, contains a number of rules and restrictions which aim at preventing dangerous encounters between Russian and US warplanes. Based on the document, the two countries set up 24-hour communications channels and outlined a mechanism for cooperation, particularly stipulating mutual assistance in crisis situations.

On Thursday night, the US forces fired 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) on a Syrian military air base located in the Homs Governorate. The attack came as a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Idlib Governorate on April 4. The US authorities believe that the airstrike on Idlib was launched from that air base.

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