Russia Proposes Military-to-Military Talks With US on Syria - Kerry
19:47 16.09.2015(updated 20:22 16.09.2015)
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that Russia had proposed military-to-military contacts with the United States on the situation in Syria.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Defense Department Press Secretary Peter Cook said Tuesday that the United States had suspended military-to-military relations with Russia over Moscow's alleged involvement in the crisis in Ukraine adding that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had not had any talks with Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu so far.
'The Russians proposed… that we have military-to-military conversations and meeting in order to discuss the issue of precisely what will be done to deconflict, with respect to any potential risks that might be run, and to have a complete and clear understanding as to the road ahead and what the [Russia's] intentions are [in Syria],' Kerry said.
A political solution to the ongoing conflict in Syria with Russia's assistance is still possible, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced during a joint press conference with South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Wednesday.
"[US] President [Barack] Obama has been clear there is no military solution to the overall conflict in Syria, only a political one. And I believe the opportunity still exists to achieve that goal with Russia's help should they be willing to contribute in a meaningful way," Kerry stated.
Kerry stressed, however, that Moscow's "continued support for Assad risks escalating the conflict" is allegedly undermining the shared goal of fighting extremism.
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with Assad's government fighting against many opposition factions and extremist groups, including ISIL and al-Nusra. Russia, unlike many Western countries, considers Assad to be the legitimate authority in Syria, and has provided humanitarian aid and military equipment to the country.
Media reports fueling speculation about a Russian military buildup in Syria have been consistently dismissed by Moscow and Damascus.
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