US Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that it is vital to coordinate all efforts, including those of the US and Russia, in the fight against the so-called ’Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) takfiri group.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that it is vital to coordinate all efforts, including those of the US and Russia, in the fight against the so-called 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL) takfiri group.
“The critical thing is that all of the efforts need to be coordinated,” Kerry told reporters at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in New York.
Responding to a question about a new intelligence-sharing arrangement between Russia, Iraq, Syria and Iran, Lavrov said: "We coordinate the efforts against ISIL".
However, Kerry said that coordination between Washington and Moscow is yet undone. “This is not yet coordinated. We have concerns about how we’re going to go forward, but that’s precisely what we’re meeting on to talk about now,” he said.
His remarks come as US President Barack Obama prepares to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday amid an uptick in Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
“This is the beginning of a genuine effort to see if there is a way to de-conflict, but also to find a way forward that will be effective in keeping a united, secular Syria that can be at peace and stable again without foreign troops present, and that’s our hope,” Kerry added.
A senior State Department official said that Kerry and Lavrov discussed a possible political transition in Syria, but pointed out that their conversation was preparatory for Monday's meeting between Putin and Obama.
"If the Russians are going to be more engaged in this theater, we have to de-conflict militarily. We also have to have a political way forward," the official said.
The US is leading a coalition of over 60 countries to allegedly combat ISIL in Syria and Iraq, while Russia has reportedly been deploying heavy weaponry to an airbase outside of the Syrian coastal city of Latakia for a possible offensive against the extremist group.