Kerry, meanwhile, in comments to a London television station, said the USA campaign against the Islamic State will continue unabated, “and we need to make sure those don’t conflict with Russia’s efforts against ISIL”. “Obviously our focus remains on destroying ISIL (Islamic State) and also on a political settlement with respect to Syria”, he added.
One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said four tactical Russian fighter jets were sent to Syria.
In another apparent concession, Kerry stated explicitly that the USA could accept a resolution to the Syrian war that allowed President Bashar Assad to remain in place for a time before departing, as the US long has wanted.
It was unclear, however, what those commitments to Syria are or how Russia’s military build-up was relevant to them.
Moscow argues that any military support falls in line with existing defense contracts, but reports have surfaced of secret deployments to Syria, where Moscow has a Soviet-era naval facility and where the Assad regime is battling Islamic State (IS) extremists.
De Mistura met with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, who repeated to him that fighting terrorism was the Syrian government’s priority, according to the state-run news agency SANA.
If such a request is made, it will be “discussed and considered”, Peskov said.
The U.S. has tried to apply diplomatic pressure for a negotiated departure of Assad since the civil war began in 2011, but the elements of the opposition acceptable to the West have been weakened by the advance of jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) and the al-Nusra Front, which are also fighting against Damascus.
He added: “But the other part of the equation is Assad and how you resolve the fact that he is a magnate for foreign fighters to come to the region”. “We have to find a way forward on a political transition”.
Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: “The course of the conversation has shown that the sides’ opinions on the majority of issues under consideration are close or coincide”.
Finally, with the votes not forthcoming, the president scrapped the idea altogether in favor of an 11th-hour plan offered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to decommission Assad’s chemical stockpiles. He will meet his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayad, before talks on Saturday with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.
“We want to avoid miscalculation”. That will be a major topic of discussion among diplomats and leaders when they convene at the U.N. General Assembly in another week, and Kerry’s trip to Europe is to help lay the groundwork for more talks at the United Nations.