Russian Foreign Ministry: Complete withdrawal of Russian air force from Syria out of question

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov

Moscow, SANA- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria is completely out of question, stressing the continued targeting of terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

“We have explained repeatedly that the tasks set before the group are aimed at countering terrorism and the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra groups that are banned in Russia. This fact raises no questions with the Americans, so there can be no talk of a full withdrawal,” Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow.

Ryabkov considered that the absence of Kurds from the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva could hamper the crisis settlement process.

He added that Russia expects that the United States will use the next period for exerting intensive efforts with Turkey and Saudi Arabia in order to move to direct Syrian-Syrian talks.

Ryabkov said that the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Moscow has yielded the desired results in terms of maintaining the cessation of hostilities in Syria, describing the US-Russian talks in Moscow on Thursday as “very specific as they focused on continuing the exchange of information and the issue of coordination”.

He pointed out that the cessation of hostilities became more stable and the number of breaches decreased.

Ryabkov also stressed Russia’s rejection of imposing solutions on Syrians, noting that there’s an acceptance by the United States and members of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) of the concept of “let Syrians decide what they want by themselves.”

He said that there is a long list of diverse questions that will remain unresolved without finishing intra-Syrian dialogue and will hinder settlement.

Ryabkov asserted that President Bashar al-Assad is the legitimate President of Syria, and that Russia is cooperating with him and with the Syrian government, noting that this cooperation includes the Russian military operation in Syria and the disposal of chemical weapons.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced on Thursday during a joint press conference in Moscow with his US counterpart John Kerry that Moscow and Washington agreed to continue to coordinate efforts to prevent violations of the cessation of hostilities in Syria.


Manar al-Frieh/Manal / Hazem Sabbagh

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