Russia urges cooperation between U.S.-led coalition, Damascus


SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)

The fight against terrorists in Syria by U.S.-led coalition should be structured in cooperation with the Syrian government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday.

“It goes without saying that the fight against terrorism should rely on a solid basis of international law,” Lavrov said at the general debate of United Nations General Assembly.

U.S. and five Arab countries on Monday began to launch air strikes against targets of militant group Islamic State in Syria. Washington said the Syrian government had been informed of the strikes beforehand.

Washington has openly declared its right to unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own interests, Lavrov told world leaders.

“Military interference has become a norm — even despite the dismal outcome of all power operations that the U.S. has carried out over the recent years,” he added.

Lavrov also accused the U.S. of “rejecting the democratic principle of sovereign state” and “trying to decide for everyone what is good or evil.”

“The U.S.-led alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, rule of law and human rights within individual countries, acts from directly opposite positions in the international arena,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that all measures to fight terrorist groups operating in Syria must be fully in line with the Charter of the United Nations and strictly in accordance with international humanitarian law.

“The parties involved in this campaign must abide by international humanitarian law and take all necessary precautions to avoid and minimize civilian casualties,” Ban said.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama, in his address to the UN, slammed Russia for annexing Crimea against Kiev’s will, and fueling a conflict in eastern Ukraine and moving troops across the border.

“We believe that right makes might — that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones; that people should be able to choose their own future,” Obama said.

In response, Lavrov lashed out at the West on Saturday, blaming “arrogant policy” of the U.S. and Europe for the crisis in Ukraine.

“The U.S. and EU supported the coup d’etat in Ukraine and reverted to outright justification of any acts by the self- proclaimed Kiev authorities,” he said.

Lavrov added that the recent ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk created an opening to resolving the crisis in Ukraine and that Russia is “sincerely interested in the restoration of peace.”

“Russia is ready to continue to actively promote the political settlement,” he said.

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