MOSCOW, October 4. /TASS/. Russia’s policy in Syria and the Middle East is devoid of self-serving interests or a hidden agenda, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat on the eve of a visit to Russia by King Salman of Saudi Arabia.
"Our policy has an advantage, as it is not intended to serve vested interests and has no hidden agenda," he said. "In this context, we will further expand our efforts to settle numerous crises and conflicts in the region through peaceful political and diplomatic means. We would also welcome everyone who is willing to engage in this joint honest work."
In this context, he recalled that the U.S.-led international coalition for struggle with the Islamic State military grouping was a gatecrasher in Syria from the standpoint of the Syrians and international law in an equal measure.
"The government of Syria demonstrates tolerance as long as the coalition’s activities are aimed at countering terrorists in the territory of this country," Lavrov said. "We are concerned over - and we have spoken openly of this concern of ours - the tactic of half-measures pursued by the United States and their allies."
"When double standards are applied, when terrorists are divided into the "bad" and the "not so bad" ones, when the coalition recruits its members on political grounds disregarding the need for the UNSC approval of its activities, one can hardly expect effective fight against terrorism," he said.
In this context, Lavrov recalled that the IS ranks had started developing cracks under the strikes of the Russian Aerospace Force and the Syrian Army.
He said that, on this background, the operations of the US-led forces in Syria were giving rise to many questions.
"In some cases these forces mounts allegedly accidental strikes against the Syrian Armed Forces, after which the Islamic State counterattacks." Lavrov said. "In other cases they inspire other terrorists to attack strategic locations over which official Damascus has restored its legitimate authority, or stage fatal provocations against our military personnel."
He said that he could also mention numerous "accidental" strikes against civilian infrastructure, the civilian death toll from which numbered hundreds of lives.
Lavrov said in this light that Russia’s participation in the fight against ISIS aimed both to ensure the national security of Russia and to strengthen global and regional security.
"The use of force alone is not enough to eradicate terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa. We are convinced of that," he indicated.