Russia, US agree to cooperate in solving Syria crisis: Russian FM
Updated: 2015-09-30 09:20
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 28, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
MOSCOW - Russia and the United States agreed to continue cooperation in spite of differences in settling Syrian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.
"(Monday's meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama) was a very constructive discussion," Lavrov said.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The 100-minute meeting was mainly dedicated to anti-terrorism task in the Middle East, in particular Syria.
"We did not agree on any specific steps, but on continuing our cooperation and discussions between ministries of foreign affairs and of defense in order to identify specific ways and means to achieve our common goals," an online statement released by the ministry quoted Lavrov as saying.
"We all agreed that our common goal is to defeat IS (Islamic State), not to allow IS to establish the 'caliphate', which they are planning to expand further to huge territories ... Both Russia and the United States absolutely determined not to allow them to succeed."
The minister urged that different forces should be coordinated in the anti-terror fight in "pragmatic, reasonable and rational" way.
Noting that the US-led coalition against IS should also cooperate with the Syrian government and be conducted with the consent of UN, Lavrov said the anti-terror fight should also involve ground forces rather than only relying on air strikes.
"We offered the US and the coalition to coordinate the actual action on the ground as well as from the air," Lavrov said, adding that the recently-proposed anti-terrorism information center should be properly used by all parties.
Putin on Monday announced at the UNGA session that the center would be jointly established in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad by Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq.
Moreover, Lavrov reiterated Russia's opposition against any external intervention of any countries' domestic affairs, which has already created chaos and divided countries in the Middle East.
"Whatever political reforms that are necessary must be promoted, but only in the way that would not repeat the mistakes of Iraq and Libya," Lavrov said.
"The US confirmed its firm stance to preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria, Iraq and all other countries in the region. On this basis can we cooperate," he added.
The United States is still concerned that Russia's aid to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the fight against IS would strengthen the Assad government, Lavrov said.
"We have explained our position: We don't have any attachments to anyone in the region, but we do firmly believe that we cannot allow the state of Syria to collapse," Lavrov said.
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