Meeting in Malaysia the foreign ministers of Russia and the US have agreed on the “common threat” posed by IS. But Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there was no “joint approach” on how to fight the group.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has met with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting in Malaysia to discuss a possible joint approach to fighting IS. It is the second meeting between the ministers within days.
“We all agree that Islamic State is the common threat, common evil,” Lavrov said in comments to Russian state television on Wednesday. “We agree that we need to join efforts to fight this phenomenon as soon and as effectively as possible.”
But Lavrov added: “For now we don’t have a joint approach on how specifically we can do it given the stand-off between various players on the ground, including armed units of the Syrian opposition.”
Lavrov said officials from Russia and the US would continue to work to find a common strategy for fighting IS.
Wednesday’s meeting in Kuala Lumpur came as part of the Kremlin’s current diplomatic push to mediate in the Syrian conflict. A delegation of members of the Syrian National Coalition has been invited to visit Moscow next week.
Both Russia and Iran have stood by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, providing military and financial support during more than four years of conflict.
US and Turkey
Also on Wednesday, Kerry met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Turkey has recently agreed to open its bases to US air operations against IS. Kerry acknowledged Turkey’s support for Syrian refugees.
Ahead of the meeting, Cavusoglu said “Now we are training and equipping the moderate opposition together with the United States, and we will also start our fight against Daesh very effectively soon,” he said, referring to IS.
Cavusoglu added: “Then the ground will be safer for the moderate opposition that are fighting Daesh on the ground.”
jm/jil (Reuters, AP)