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Russia-US dialogue on Syria, on arms needs contacts between defense agencies — Lavrov

Moscow will refuse to support the cross-border aid delivery mechanism in Syria unless aid is delivered through Damascus, Lavrov said

UNITED NATIONS, September 25. /TASS/. If Washington lifted restrictions on military contacts with Moscow, it would help promote the dialogue on arms control and on the deconfliction mechanism in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday at a press conference devoted to the outcome of his visit to New York for the 76th session of the UNGA.

"We are negotiating with them on the so-called deconfliction mechanism for Syria. This mechanism works. I draw your attention to the fact that it works in spite of any legal bans which the US Congress imposed on military contacts," he said. "And recently, the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been saying publicly that it is unwise and that those restrictions on contacts between defense agencies should be lifted. It will do good not only to deconfliction in Syria, but also for the promotion of our dialogue on arms control, in general," he said.

Moscow will refuse to support the cross-border aid delivery mechanism in Syria unless aid is delivered through Damascus, Lavrov said.

"If no specific measures are taken to unblock aid deliveries thorough Damascus in accordance with international humanitarian law, then we will shut down these cross-border activities that aren't transparent," Lavrov emphasized.

On Wednesday, Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley held talks in Finland. Milley said that the US should explore ways to expand military contacts with Russia, including the possibility of allowing observers from each country to watch the other’s military drills, in efforts to increase transparency and reduce the risk of conflict.