The liberation of Aleppo is a major step in the liberation of Syria from terrorists, said Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, but further cooperation is needed between regional players.
According to Lavrov, Russia worked jointly with Turkey and Iran to prepare the voluntary evacuation of civilians and organized the withdrawal of armed opposition from eastern Aleppo, “which has saved many innocent lives.”
“Unfortunately, our previous agreements with the United States have been derailed by our American partners. Washington has failed or did not want to do the main thing – separate the so-called moderate opposition from the ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists, and other extremist groups,” Lavrov made the comments in an Interfax news agency that was released by the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
With regard to further relations in the region, Lavrov, said, according to the interview, “We will continue to strengthen our cooperation with Turkey, Iran and other regional countries on Syria.”
“President of Russia Vladimir Putin has more than once proposed creating a broad counterterrorist front based on international law and supported by the UN. We are ready for constructive cooperation towards this end with all those who care for the future of Syria and their own countries,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov said that Russia has consistently upheld the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria. “We stand firmly for Syria to remain a united, multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, democratic and secular state,” Lavrov said.
As for specific forms of government, the Syrians alone can decide this and a number of other issues through an inclusive national dialogue, Lavrov said.
“During a recent meeting with my Iranian and Turkish colleagues in Moscow, we approved a joint statement reaffirming our countries’ willingness to contribute to the development of and to guarantee the implementation of the negotiated agreement between the Syrian government and the opposition,” said the Russian Foreign Affairs Minister.
With respect to the United States and President-Elect Donald Trump, Lavrov said, “It would be premature to talk about the kind of relations on specific issues we may have with the Republican administration.”
“We hope to be able to develop a pragmatic dialogue, “the Russia Foreign Affairs Minister said, adding, “As I have said, effective cooperation between Russia and the United States is possible, but only after Washington stops using deterrence tools and blackmail and ceases its attempts to force its will on us. The ball is in the US court now.”