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Diplomat reassures that Russia, US ‘not in state of conflict’ over Syria

A Russian diplomat comments on Moscow-Washington relations

MOSCOW, June 29. /TASS/. Russia and the United States are not in a state of conflict over Syria but their relations are facing hard times, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Thursday.

"I don’t think that Russia and the US are in a state of conflict (amid events in Syria). I consider that Russia and the US are not experiencing the best times in the history of their relations, but there is a possibility to improve them," he said.

"That’s why there is the need to be more responsible, show respect to the interests of each other and be guided by a joint agenda with the focus on the war on terror," Ryabkov said.

"Should these conditions be fulfilled, Russian-US relations may be mended and take a more consistent line," the diplomat said.

Ryabkov said that he hoped that Russia’s warning had helped prevent a US strike on Syria.

"We conveyed the warning to the top diplomats yesterday and the message was passed on. The Foreign Ministry issued a corresponding statement through its Information and Press Department. The US Ambassador to the United Nations [Nikki Haley] said yesterday that the US warning had worked, and I hope that Russian warning had worked (as well) and the US had not conducted a strike," he told reporters on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia would adequately respond to possible US provocations regarding the Syrian army, but expected the US not to use any covert intelligence information to create a pretext for a new strike on the Syrian government forces.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement that the United States had identified potential preparations for another chemical attack by the Assad regime. Syria’s government denied these allegations.