Russia FM: Using Militants as Pawns Prolongs Middle East Crisis

Russia FM: Using Militants as Pawns Prolongs Middle East Crisis
Thu Feb 25, 2016 17:38:51

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the crises in the Middle East will not be settled as long as terrorists are used as pawns in pursuit of certain geopolitical agendas.

The fight against terrorism “cannot be successful if attempts are not stopped at using terrorists as pawns in doubtful geopolitical games,” Lavrov said in Moscow on Thursday.

“The further degradation of the situation presents a serious threat for the entire international architecture," he told a session of the Valdai International Discussion Club.

Russia FM: Using Militants as Pawns Prolongs Middle East Crisis

"Obviously a strong stability of the situation is impossible without the destruction of the center of the terrorist threat, first and foremost Daesh,” he said.

During the session, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Moscow was concerned about statements from US officials about alternatives to a plan for the cessation of hostilities in Syria.

“We are concerned about claims of certain Western partners, including the United States, about the existence of a certain ‘plan B.’ We know nothing about it, and we are not discussing any alternate plans.”

The United States and Russia announced on February 22 that they had reached a deal for a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria, which would begin on February 27.

The Syrian government said the following day that it accepts the terms of the deal on the condition that military efforts against Daesh and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front continue.

In the lead-up to the agreement, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US had a “plan B” for military action to enforce if the cessation of hostilities failed.
Bogdanov, who serves as President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to the Middle East, said Russia expects the US to negotiate the implementation of the agreement with the Syrian opposition.

“Russia is doing the necessary work with Damascus and the legitimate Syrian leadership. We expect the United States to do the same with groups allied with them and supported by them,” he said.

The Russian diplomat also said the notion of setting up a buffer zone in Syria and to launch a ground operation in the war-hit country could only exacerbate the situation.

“Steps that could further worsen the Syria crisis cause our great concerns. In particular, this includes attempts to implement the idea of setting up a buffer zone on the Syrian-Turkish border and putting together some blocs for a land operation.”

Bogdanov was referring to Ankara's plans to set up a buffer zone and by send ground troops into Syria by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Press TV reported.

S/SH 11

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