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Russia Denies Reports of IS-Related Intelligence Exchanges With US

RIA Novosti

16:58 16/10/2014
Updated 6:41 p.m. Moscow Time

MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday dismissed media rumors about an agreement between Moscow and Washington to strengthen intelligence exchanges related to the fight against the Islamic State (IS).

According to the ministry, this issue was addressed by US Secretary of State John Kerry during his meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris earlier this week.

In response, 'Lavrov stressed that Russia has been involved in the fight against terrorism for a long time,' and will continue to do so 'without getting involved in 'coalitions' created outside the UN Security Council mandate.

Lavrov also reminded Kerry that the Russian-US Presidential committee had a special group dedicated to the joint fight against terrorism, whose work included anti-terror intelligence exchanges.

'Regretfully, the United States unilaterally halted the work of this committee and all its mechanisms, including the anti-terrorism group,' the ministry said.

Lavrov and Kerry held talks in Paris on Tuesday. Following the talks, the American diplomat said that the United States and Russia can overcome their differences on Ukraine and cooperate in the fight against IS militants in Iraq and Syria. He also announced that Washington and Moscow have agreed to share intelligence on the IS.

The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control. A US-led international coalition is currently carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq.

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