Updated-Lavrov: Armed factions working with ISIS and al-Nusra are terrorist groups

Moscow, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that the United States are refusing to implement its agreement with Russia on sorting members of what the US calls “moderate opposition” from Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Aleppo, in a bid to prevent targeting terrorists there.

In a joint press conference with Ethiopian counterpart Tedros Adhanom, Lavrov said that Russia and the US had agreed on Washington using its influence to withdraw what it calls “good opposition” from Aleppo so that nothing hinders the targeting of al-Nusra terrorists, but the US has yet to fulfill its part of this agreement.

He pointed out that Russia is gathering information on the cooperation between al-Nusra and groups that announced their joining the cessation of hostilities agreement and this information will be submitted to the Security Council so that it can amend the list of terrorist organizations.

The Minister asserted that all armed factions that are working with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra are terrorist groups and cannot be part of the cessation of hostilities agreement in Syria, adding that US State Secretary John Kerry’s talk of dividing Syria to areas of military influence between Russia and the US is superficial, because the goal is fighting terrorism, not dividing the country into areas of influence.

He pointed out that Moscow and Washington agreed upon a mechanism for monitoring the cessation of hostilities via the Russia military base in Hmeimim which coordinated with American military leaders in Amman, Jordan, with Lavrov calling on Washington to be candid and honest about the existence of this coordination.

Lavrov also stressed that the intra-Syrian dialogue in Geneva will continue in spite of the suspended participation of some opposition groups, adding that Turkey has a decisive influence on the “Riyadh opposition” delegation.

Lavrov, Kerry discuss Syria crisis on phone 

In a relevant context, Lavrov discussed with his US counterpart John Kerry means of cooperation between Russia and the US to boost the cessation of hostilities agreement in Syria.

A statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Lavrov and Kerry, discussed, in a telephone call, providing the Syrians with “humanitarian aids” and launching a stable settlement process to solve the crisis in Syria.

Lavrov concentrated on the need for the withdrawal of so-called “factions of moderate opposition” from regions seized by terrorists of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra as soon as possible.

Peskov: Convening the ISSG currently difficult

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated on Monday that it’s currently difficult to talk about convening the International Syria Support Group (ISSG).

In response to a question on de Mistura’s call for convening the ISSG, Peskov said that this is difficult due to the lack of flexibility in some sides in the negotiations process, voicing Russia’s concern over the decline of the intra-Syrian dialogue in Geneva.

He asserted that Russia is doing its best to help and support the dialogue in Geneva and prevent it from failing, but at the same time it remains worried over their decline.

Barry/H. Said / Hazem Sabbagh

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