MOSCOW, February 28./TASS/. The Western nations should not repeat their own mistakes by banking on terrorists in order to achieve their geopolitical goals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned at a news conference on Friday.
He criticized statements from Western representatives, who maintain that the terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (one of the names of the Russia-banned Jabhat al-Nusra) is rehabilitating, ceasing to be extremist.
"I want to most seriously warn our Western colleagues against repeating their mistakes, when stakes are put on a union with terrorists to reach the geopolitical goals of overthrowing regimes in other countries, be it in Afghanistan or Iraq, Libya or Syria," he said. This is done "with the hope that after the terrorists have been used for achieving concrete geopolitical goals, they can be controlled. This has never been the case in history, and I urge all our colleagues to remember that no deals are possible with the terrorists, and certainly [it is impossible] to bank on them for solving the problems that are within the context of the Syrian settlement," the Russian diplomat added.
Lavrov reiterated that US Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS James Jeffrey had repeatedly expressed the opinion that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, recognized by the UN Security Council as a terrorist organization, is getting rid of extremists and becomes part of the settlement process in Syria as "it is primarily focused on fighting the Assad regime."
The Russian diplomat drew attention to the fact that this view had already got shared by Western political analysts, while the UK-based International Crisis Group even interviewed one of the leaders of that terrorist group in which he repeated Jeffrey’s words.
"And commentaries [in Western countries] are increasingly often made in this vein," he stated.