13 March، 2016
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed that the Syrian government supports any coordination with the participation of Russia due to its confidence that it would not violate Syria’s sovereignty.
“When we established contact with the US-led coalition through Washington and agreed on the cooperation in avoiding incidents in the air and then about the coordination of issues related to the maintaining of the cessation of hostilities and delivery of humanitarian aid, the Syrian government accepted this formula and thinks that if it is done with the participation of Russia, Syria’s sovereignty is not violated,” Lavrov told Russia’s REN-TV channel on Sunday.
The minister reminded that Russia is the only country operating in Syria upon the request of the Syrian legal authorities, while all other states, including those of a US-led coalition, did so without the approval of the Syrian government or the UN and independently of any decision by the UN Security Council or a direct invitation from the legitimate government in Syria.
He pointed out that defeating ISIS terrorist organization in Syria and Iraq will be achieved soon.
On the other hand, Lavrov said Moscow refuses any steps on the Syrian territory without the Syrian government’s approval, referring to Turkey’s actions on the border with Syria which he said are “creeping expansion”.
Lavrov added that the Kurds should be engaged in Geneva talks, wondering “how can you count on the Kurds remaining part of the Syrian state if we left them out of the talks?,” adding that Russia would insist that the United Nations invites the Kurds to peace talks despite Turkey’s opposition.
Lavrov expressed his country’s readiness to cooperate with the US in regard to eliminating ISIS, pointing out that the Americans suggested carrying out a ‘division of labor’ in Syria in issues related to combating ISIS.
He noted that Washington realizes the need to coordinate efforts in the fight against terrorism and that cooperation should not be limited to coordination of aircrafts’ overflights to avoid accidents in the air.
Commenting on the US stance on the cooperation with Russia in combating terrorism in Syria, Lavrov said that Washington’s position is “unripe”, pointing out that the US State Department has announced the continuation of cooperation with Moscow while statements issued by the US military officials deny this.