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PRESS RELEASE


Lavrov Discusses U.S. and Syria Settlement with Putin

Feb. 13, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian President Putin’s website en.kremlin.ru yesterday reported his meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Feb. 10, "Diplomats Day" in Russia. Lavrov gave this analysis to Putin then: "We are currently in a situation which is much more favorable to start working on a real settlement of the crisis [in Syria]. We were close to it in September 2016, but the Americans failed to implement an agreement which had been coordinated with us earlier, which once more confirmed the Obama Administration’s inability to negotiate on many issues.

"They [U.S.] took an agreement and then couldn’t do anything [within it]," Lavrov said,

"largely because of Obama’s reluctance to have an argument with some countries in the region. We know that Turkey has influence, and continues to influence a very considerable number of field commanders."

Lavrov emphasized that Russia is not trying

"to undermine the UN’s efforts, although our initiative was largely based on [others’] inaction, we understand that many more sides should be involved in peace talks than those currently working on the [Astana] negotiations."

There should be more participation from Syria and "players from the outside."

In those talks, he added, the "whims" of some Syrian opposition group leaders, "especially those who have long been living outside Syria," should not be taken into consideration. "If it once again becomes a hindrance to hold UN talks, then the organization’s reputation will be seriously damaged," he said.

Lavrov said that U.S. representatives were present as monitors at the recent meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, and he confirmed that an invitation had been sent to Washington to take part in the talks, once a new team on the Middle East and Syria is formed under the incoming Administration.

"If U.S. President Trump’s main priority in the international arena is fighting terrorism, then it should be admitted that in Syria, not only the Syrian army supported by the Russian Air Force are fighting ISIL, but also Hezbollah groups supported by Iran. There is a choice of priorities here."

"I am sure that Donald Trump is absolutely sincere when he every time confirms his determination to defeat ISIS. We are ready to cooperate with him,"

Lavrov concluded, and he expressed the hope that cooperation between Russian military and American military in Syria "will soon start to form again."