Shoigu: Active U.S.-Russia Engagement in Syria War on ISIS
Aug. 16, 2016 (EIRNS)—Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said, yesterday, that Russia and the United States are engaged in active negotiations in both Amman and Geneva on the situation in Syria’s Aleppo.
"We are step-by-step approaching an alternative—I am speaking only about Aleppo now—that will help us to find some points in common and to start actually joint fight to see peace established in that territory, on that long-suffering land, and people returning to their homes,"
Shoigu told Rossiya 24 TV.
Shoigu said cooperation of Russia and the United States on the settlement in Syria was on the whole "concrete and well-organized." He repeated Russia’s earlier requests to U.S. counterparts to share the
"moderate opposition’s" accurate coordinates in order to let the Russian aerospace group avoid hitting these areas, or to disclose the coordinates of militants belonging to the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (both are outlawed in Russia), but the Russian military has not yet received such information.
"We then put forward a different solution. Our president and the president of the United States said, yes, let’s follow a different path. If there are those who claim they are prepared to cease fire, we may conclude separate agreements with them and remember that there are people who are ready not to lay down arms, but just for a cease fire. This whole procedure is very concrete and very well organized,"
There has been little in the way of public response from the U.S. side, so far. "We have seen the reports and have nothing to announce ... We remain in close contact [with Russian officials]," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said yesterday.
Lavrov conceded, yesterday, that the three-hour pauses that Shoigu had announced last week, are not working.
"Three-hour pauses a day are insufficient," Lavrov said after his meeting with German Foreign Minister Steinmeier.
"But to make them lengthy, it is necessary to deal with the issues of the fight against terrorists."
In the past, Russia and the United States were able to reach agreements and announce a truce regime for 48 and even for 72 hours, Lavrov said. "As a result of these pauses, the humanitarian situation has been slightly eased," he said
"But their main result is that the terrorists’ ranks have been replenished with 7,000 fighters, to say nothing about a large number of ammunition and weapons."
Steinmeier agreed, stressing that "It is crucial to rule out weapons deliveries disguised as humanitarian supplies."