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Moscow interested in UN-led anti-terror coalition: Lavrov

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia supports the formation of an international anti-terror coalition under the supervision of the United Nations, amid diplomatic efforts to end the Syria conflict.

“Russia is very interested in a truly integrated anti-terrorism alliance” under the UN coordination and based on international law, Lavrov said at a joint news conference with his Qatari counterpart Khalid Bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah in Moscow.

He was reacting to recent claims by Saudi Arabia that it had patched together a coalition of 34 countries to fight against terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and Syria.

Saudi Arabia’s announcement has surprised some of the countries because their names have been included without their knowledge.

Lavrov further said Moscow and Doha have “reached an understanding” to work together and make sure a list of Syrian opposition is drawn up in order for the international talks on the conflict in Syria to bear fruit. He did not disclose details about the agreement.

The two sides, however, still disagree on the fate of Syrian President Basshar al-Assad, the Russian foreign minister said.

Lavrov said, “It’s up to the Syrian people” to decide Assad’s political future.

“Many of our partner nations used to insist that Assad regime is illegal, but we are seeing a positive change in their views. Also, we are in favor of holding talks between the government of Syria and opposition factions,” the Russian minister added.

On December 18, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting an international roadmap for a peace process in Syria. The resolution came after the third round of Syria talks in New York. The world body seeks to convene peace negotiations in Geneva sometime in January 2016.


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