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    Lavrov, Kerry hold phone call on Syria crisis, fight against terror
    December 29, 2015, 6:02 am

    File Photo: US Secretary of State John Kerry with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov [Xinhua]

    File Photo: US Secretary of State John Kerry with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov [Xinhua]

    In a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged the US not to set preconditions in the setting up of a global alliance to fight Islamic State, the Foreign Ministry said.

    “The prospects of overcoming the crisis in Syria, including within the context of the talks between representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition organized by UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, with a view to reaching a political settlement were discussed,” the ministry said.

    The phone call was initiated by the US.

    “Lavrov also pointed to the need to abandon preconditions in creating a single front to fight against IS and other terrorist groups,” the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

    A Reuters report on Monday quoted top US security officials as conceding the Russian campaign in Syria has been a success so far.

    In an interview to Russian agency Interfax on Monday, Lavrov said Moscow’s leading role in the fight against terrorism shaped its 2015 foreign policy.

    “The key objective of Russian diplomatic efforts was to secure the leading role of our country in mobilizing the international repulsion of terrorist aggression and form a broad antiterrorist front,” Lavrov said.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the Russian air campaign in Syria is aimed at aiding the Syrian government fight the Islamic State group. Western officials and Syrian opposition groups have alleged Russian air strikes have also targeted rebels fighting the Bashar Al-Assad government.

    The Russian Air Force on Tuesday claimed it has helped the Syrian Democratic Forces liberate 20 residential areas from Islamic State (previously ISIS/ISIL) around the city of Raqqa, the extremist groups’ stronghold.

    “The troops of the Syrian Democratic Forces, commanded by Ayman Flyat el-Ganim, with the support of the Russian Air Force, conducted an offensive toward the ISIS capital, Raqqa. As a result of this offensive, approximately 20 residential areas were liberated from extremists. Strategic control was established over the important dam on the river Euphrates at al-Ahmar,”  Russian military spokesperson Sergey Rudskoy said at a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, in talks with Kerry on Monday, the Russian Foreign Minister also criticised the US sanctions against the country that were undermining bilateral ties.

    “In discussing Russian-American relations, Lavrov emphasized hopelessness of US action to build up sanction pressure on Russia, which only undermines possibilities of bilateral cooperation on pressing international issues, in which Washington constantly appeals to us for assistance in the their settlement,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry.

    Lavrov and Kerry have also discussed practical implementation of the Joint Plan of Action on the settlement of the situation around Iran’s nuclear program.

    TBP and Agencies

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