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Putin calls on US to work with Assad
September 28, 2015, 5:06 pm

Putin stressed the importance of the United Nations as a mechanism to avoid new global confrontation [File]

Putin stressed the importance of the United Nations as a mechanism to avoid new global confrontation [File]

When President Vladimir Putin took to the podium at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, he did so as a leader of a Russian Federation that has much changed since his last address here a decade ago.

Russia has in the past few years pushed multilateralism, especially in the foundation of BRICS, and its role in establishing the New Development Bank. Moscow played a significant role in bringing Washington (as a member of the P5+1) and Tehran together to negotiate an agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

But it is in Syria – and the battle there against extremist Islam – that Russia’s diplomatic initiatives have taken center stage.

“Russia has always been persistently fighting against terrorism in all its forms,” Putin told the 70th session of the General Assembly.

He said that Russia is today providing military and technical assistance to Iraq and Syria, and all other countries, which are fighting various terrorist groups.

In late August, Russia began shipping advanced fighter jets and helicopter gunships to the Syrian military in a bid to leverage Damascus’s advantage against extremist Islamist factions.

Moscow also dispatched a number of troops and has moved naval vessels to the Mediterranean.

Last week, Russia also appeared to have forged a regional coalition including Iran, Iraq and Syria to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) threat.

A military communique in Baghdad on Sunday said that Iraq will “help and cooperate in collecting information about the terrorist Daesh (Arabic for ISIL) group,” and that the coordination comes amid “increased Russian concern about the presence of thousands of terrorists from Russia undertaking criminal acts with [ISIL]”.

The Russian President also criticized Western powers for refusing to deal with the government of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad – a leader US President Barack Obama said during his UNGA address an hour earlier was dropping barrel bombs on civilians.

“It is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces who are violently fighting terrorism face to face,” Putin said.

He called on world powers to acknowledge that it is Assad’s forces and the Kurdish militias who are “truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations” in Syria.

In 2013, Russia brokered an 11th-hour deal with the US to have Al Assad declare his chemical weapons stockpile and hand them over to international inspectors, thereby avoiding a Washington-inspired aerial bombardment campaign.

Putin also called on a broad range of forces to come together – similar to the Allies’ war against the Axis of Germany, Italy and Japan in World War II – and create an international anti-terrorism coalition.

Muslim countries should play a large role in this coalition, he said, because ISIL has desecrated one of the world’s great religions.

“The ideologists of militants make a mockery of Islam and pervert its true humanistic values,” Putin said turning his appeal to Islamic theologians and clerics to end the “fratricide”.

He said that Moscow will seek in its current capacity as President of the Security Council to pass a resolution (based on the tenets of the UN Charter) that will coordinate all the forces that are battling ISIL and other terrorist organizations.

The refugee crisis

Putin also lambasted Western policies of intervention in Libya and Iraq, and highlighted the dangers of political and security vacuums which gave rise to such groups as ISIL, who establish a foothold in these countries and then export terrorism abroad.

This, he said, also exacerbated the refugee crisis.

“Refugees undoubtedly need our compassion and support,” Putin said, “however, the only way to stop this problem on a fundamental level is to restore the statehood where it has been destroyed”.

He called on UN member states to offer, not impose, assistance to sovereign states in accordance with the UN Charter.

“Everything that contravenes the UN Charter must be rejected,” he said.

In previous statements about the massive numbers of refugees who have struggled – and often died – to reach European shores, Putin laid the blame squarely on the US and its European allies.

“I think the crisis was absolutely expected. We in Russia, and me personally several times said it straight that pervasive problems would emerge, if our so-called Western partners continued to maintain their flawed, as I always stressed it, foreign policy, which they pursue to date, especially in regions of the Muslim world [such as] Middle East, North Africa,” Putin said in early September.

“And it is, first of all, the policy of our American partners. Europe is blindly following this policy within the framework of the so-called allied liabilities, and in the end shoulders the entire burden. I am now quite surprised that some of the American mass media are criticizing Europe for what they consider to be excessive cruelty towards migrants,” he added.


When it came to the crisis in the Ukraine, the Russian President reiterated what he told Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes on Sunday that Moscow firmly believed that popular discontent in Kiev was manipulated, and that a military coup was “orchestrated from the outside” eventually triggering a civil war.

Putin stressed that the Ukraine crisis could only be resolved through the implementation of the February 2015 Minsk Agreements.

“This is the only way to end the bloodshed and break the deadlock,” he said, adding that the rights of the Russian people in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine (an area that has seen much fighting between pro-Moscow forces and the Kiev military) must be genuinely considered and respected.

After commenting on current world economic paradigms and warning against economic exclusivity of rich member states of the World Trade Organization, Putin stressed the importance of multilateral organizations such as the United Nations.

“Russia believes in the huge potential of the United Nations, which should help us avoid a new global confrontation, and help us engage in strategic cooperation,” Putin said.

“I am confident by working together we will make the world stable and safe,” he concluded.

Putin is scheduled to meet with Obama later Monday to discuss the Syria crisis.

The BRICS Post