Ready to Work With Anti-IS Coalition on Condition: Russia

Published: 19th November 2015 10:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th November 2015 10:47 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

MOSCOW: Russia is ready to work with the Western coalition fighting the Islamic State group if its members respect Syria's sovereignty, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today

"We... are ready for practical cooperation with those countries which are part of the coalition and are ready to develop with them such forms of coordination that of course would respect Syria's sovereignty and the prerogatives of the Syrian leadership," Lavrov said in an interview with state-run Radio of Russia.

"I am convinced that such forms can be found if we take a pragmatic approach."

Russia first launched air strikes on Syria in September at the request of its long-standing ally President Bashar al-Assad, while a US-led coalition of countries opposed to the Syrian strongman is conducting a separate air campaign against IS.

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, French President Francois Hollande called this week for a broad anti-IS coalition, echoing an earlier call made by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the UN General Assembly in September.

Hollande said he would next week discuss his proposal with US President Barack Obama and Putin, who has ordered his navy in the Mediterranean to establish contact with its French counterparts and work together "as allies".

Putin has been seeking to capitalise on shifting dynamics in the West following the Paris carnage and the bombing of a Russian passenger plane over Sinai in October, arguing that Russia and the West should unite against a common enemy.

Lavrov said he first detected a change in the Western position after Putin called for a broad coalition to fight the IS jihadists in Syria and praised Hollande's decision to reach out to Putin.

"Right now sensible politicians are putting secondary things aside and understand that it's necessary to focus attention on the priority: to prevent efforts by ISIL to conquer positions on the huge territory on Earth," he said, using another acronym for IS.

Lavrov reiterated Russia's traditional stance that Assad protected the interests of "a significant part of Syrian society" therefore it would not be possible to reach a settlement "without his participation."

"Our Western partners realised the lack of prospects for the approach that many of them had taken," Russia's top diplomat said, referring to the insistence in the West that Assad should immediately step down.

He also praised signs of rapprochement between Russia and the West following months of tensions over Ukraine. "Our Western partners have put some formats on ice," he said, referring to venues such as the NATO-Russia Council.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp