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Putin, Trump issue joint Syria statement
November 12, 2017, 10:44 am

Putin and Trump have spoken three times about Syria, but met very briefly at the APEC Leader’s Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam November 11, 2017 [PPIO]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump issued a statement on the sidelines of the APEC Summit late Saturday in which they outlined their joint vision to ending the civil war in Syria.

Russia and the US have largely been at odds over Moscow’s support of the government of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, and Washington’s arming of rebels who Putin had accused of being extremists allied with the Islamic State.

There was nothing particularly groundbreaking in their joint statement.

The two leaders reiterated their commitment to defeating the Islamic State, the statement read, and reaffirmed that the conflict in Syria could not be resolved militarily.

But they also declared that they will maintain and strengthen the channels of communication between their militaries in their fight against the Islamic State. They acknowledged that their joint efforts had critically defeated the Islamic State and severely impeded their territorial control.

Both Russia and the US reiterated their support for the Geneva peace negotiations on Syria and said these were “the ultimate political solution to the conflict.”

The two presidents said that support for the Geneva talks included ensuring that UN Security Council Resolution 2254 is fully implemented so as to pave the way for a political settlement focused on free elections and constitutional overhaul under UN auspices.

“The ultimate political solution to the conflict must be forged through the Geneva process,” the statement read.

Their joint statement said that the political process should include all Syrians, including those who have been displaced by the seven-year civil war.

Trump also threw his support behind the process of deescalation as a way to build momentum to a complete cessation of hostilities which would then pave the way for political avenues.

On June 19, Moscow halted its deescalation cooperation – known as the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria – with the US military after US-led coalition forces shot down a Syrian SU-22 as it was carrying out a mission over the Islamic state stronghold of Raqqa.

Moscow condemned the shoot-down as a dangerous violation of Syria’s sovereignty.

The Russian military says the US did not use the the deescalation cooperation utility even though Russian Air Force jets were in the vicinity at the time.

The Pentagon said it shot down the Syrian warcraft because it was targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces militia, which is backed by Washington and its allies in the region.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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