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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian PM Slams 'Futile' Threats of Possible Ground Operation in Syria

Sputnik News

20:24 14.02.2016(updated 21:14 14.02.2016)

Countries taking part in the Syrian crisis settlement should look for a compromise, instead of threatening to launch a ground operation in the country, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, commenting on a recent statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Earlier this week, Kerry said that if Russia and Iran do not help the US in Syria, there was a possibility of sending ground forces in Syria.

'These are futile words, he should not have said that for a simple reason: if all he wants is a protracted war, he can carry out ground operations and anything else. But don't try to frighten anyone,' Medvedev told the Euronews television, referring to Kerry's statement.

According to Medvedev, Washington should instead attempt to reach an agreement on the same lines as Kerry's conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

However, the Russian prime minister said he was 'cautiously optimistic' concerning international cooperation on the Syrian reconciliation.

'I'm cautiously optimistic about the prospects for cooperation on this issue. Let me emphasise that this cooperation is critical, because unless we come together on this issue, there will be no end to the war in Syria.'

All Parties to Syrian Conflict Must Make Joint Decision to Cease Hostilities

All parties to the Syrian conflict must be make a joint decision to lay down their arms, and have to have this as an objective, Dmitry Medvedev said.

'Decisions on ending combat operations depend on whether the parties involved are willing to lay down arms and how fast. In fact, when one group stops fighting, while the other begins to build on its military success, this is the most dangerous situation. All it does is escalate the conflict. It is for that reason that there should be a common decision on when to stop military action. This should be our objective.'

According to the Russian prime minister, Moscow came forward with this initiative on February 4, but it was met with hesitation among the US officials, who ended up reaching consensus.

'Let's hope that there will be no delays from now on. This will be the starting point for Russia.'

Russia, US, EU Should Facilitate Launch of Transition Process in Syria

Moscow, Brussels and Washington should create favorable conditions for the launch of the political transition process in Syria, the Russian prime minister said.

"I don't think that we should go into too much detail on these issues. I'm talking about Russia, the European Union and the United States. We should focus on facilitating the launch of this process. We must make sure that everyone sits down at the negotiating table, in fact, make them talk to each other, so that maybe they close their eyes to the mutual grievances they might have and the outstanding issues," he told the Euronews television channel.

He added that such a dialogue "will be anything but simple" given the parties involved.

"On one side, you have President Assad, supported by a part of society and the military, and, on the other side, the other part of society, often representing different confessions, people who don't like Assad but have to sit with him at the same negotiating table. Nevertheless, they need to come to an agreement for the sake of keeping Syria united."

Assad Should Be Integral Part of Syrian Crisis Settlement

Syrian President Bashar Assad should be involved in all parts of the process to resolve the situation in the country while its political destiny should be decided upon by the Syrians, Medvedev believes.

'We simply believe that there is currently no other legitimate authority in Syria apart from Bashar Assad. He is the incumbent president, whether anyone likes it or not… It is for that reason that he should take part in all the procedures and processes, and it should be up to the Syrian people to decide his destiny. He fully understands that.'

He added that during Assad's visit to Moscow, the Syrian president said that if the people do not support him, he will naturally step down.

'However, he should remain in office until the future political order is agreed upon, as well as how the country is to be governed. This is Russia's take on this issue,' Medvedev said.

Russia Ready to Cooperate With EU in Anti-Terror Fight

Russia is ready to share its anti-terrorist experience with European partners, Dmitry Medvedev said.

"We have some very serious and dramatic experience in fighting terrorism in our country. For a long time, nobody heard what we had to say. Even the terrorists who were active the Caucasus were called not terrorists but insurgents, even though when those 'insurgents' were captured or eliminated, they were found to be in possession of Turkish or Arab passports. But then we began to be heeded and at some point Europe and the entire world were overwhelmed, unfortunately. Today we are all in the same boat. We are all faced with the threat of terrorism."

He added that Russia is willing to share information and experience, willing to cooperate, but its European partners should also take "a responsible stance."

"It is essential to take a broad perspective here – think about future generations, about the value of human life, not talk to the effect that Russia is an outsider, that it does not behave the way it should and this is why our special services do not collaborate with it. Well, don't. I just addressed a panel and said: Daesh leaders will thank you," the Russian prime minister said.


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