Lavrov: US fulfilling its promise to separate “opposition” from al-Nusra is the main priority

Bishkek/Moscow, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Russian-American agreement on Syria gives the utmost priority to separating “opposition groups” from terrorists, and that he suspects that the American side is avoiding this because there are those in Washington who want the terrorists to evade strikes.

In a statement to journalists in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Lavrov said that America fulfilling its promise to separate the “opposition” it deals with from Jabhat al-Nusra is the main priority, noting that while the Americans sent a list of the sides involved in the cessation of combat activities who mustn’t be targeted, the list includes Ahrar al-Cham which refused to abide by the Russian-American agreement because that agreement seeks to fight al-Nusra, which means that the Americans have put an integral part of al-Nusra among the list of “opposition groups” they cooperate with.

He also stressed that the US State Department’s statements on the Russian-American agreement not mentioning coordinated strikes on ISIS as wrong, describing these statements as a misunderstanding and hoping it’s not deliberate, because the documents he and State Secretary John Kerry adopted state explicitly that they will coordinate actions against al-Nusra and ISIS, adding that he called on the US to make these documents public so that no-one can manipulate or distort them.

The Minister called on the UN to work towards resuming the intra-Syrian dialogue without preconditions and without excluding any side, adding that contrary to what the West claims, the popularity of President Bashar al-Assad is constantly increasing among Syrians.

Later, in a phone call with US State Secretary John Kerry, Lavrov called for making the Russian-American agreement on Syria public and for having the Security Council ratify it, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The Ministry said that as the two sides discussed progress in implementing the aforementioned agreement during the call, Lavrov pointed out to the breaches of the truce regime by armed groups and urged Washington to honor its promise to separate the “moderate opposition” from al-Nusra, adding that the list of the groups that the American side deals with which it provided to Russia contains terrorist factions that operate openly and blatantly with al-Nusra.

The Ministry went on to say that Kerry pledged to address the issue of organizing humanitarian convoys and the threats of armed groups that prevent delivering aid to the eastern part of Aleppo city, adding that the two sides were in general comfortable with the truce regime and called for making it permanent.

However, the United States refused to reveal the details of the agreement with Russia under the pretext of it containing “sensitive” articles, according the US State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

Hazem Sabbagh

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