Ashton Carter says US, Russia still at odds over Syria

July 26, 2016 6:00 am

Secretary of Defense Ashton
Carter (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph F.
Dunford speak to the media at a news conference in the Pentagon briefing
room on July 25, 2016 in Arlington, Virginia. (AFP)

Defense Secretary says his country’s stance on is still far from that of .
Carter
made the remarks on Monday amid ongoing discussions led by US Secretary
of State John Kerry over a agreement between Washington and
Moscow.
Kerry’s talks were aimed
at seeing whether “it’s possible… for the Russians to begin to do the
right thing in Syria,” Carter claimed.
“We
had hoped that they would promote a political solution and transition
to put an end to the civil war which is the beginning of all this
violence in Syria,” he said.
However, “they’re a long way from doing that,” he added, noting, “But that’s what Secretary Kerry’s trying to promote.”
On
July 14, Kerry traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian President
Vladimir Putin and discuss an American military deal in Syria with
Russia.
Kerry announced a
proposal that calls for both Washington and Moscow to share intelligence
to coordinate air strikes against the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front
and ban the Syrian air force from attacking so-called moderate rebel
groups fighting against the government of Bashar al-Assad.
However,
the proposal is coming under criticism from US officials, European
allies, and the rebels in Syria, who consider the plan to be naive for
placing trust in Russia.
Kerry, nonetheless, has defended the plan, saying “the president of has authorized and ordered this track.”
Meanwhile, Marine General Joseph Dunford said Monday, “We’re not entering into a transaction that is based on trust.”
“There
will be specific procedures and processes in any transaction that we
might have with the Russians that would account for protecting our
operational security,” added Dunford, who is the chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff.
At a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow last week, Kerry announced that Russia and the US had established a common understanding of steps required to bring peace back to Syria.
The
Muslim country has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March
2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura
estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
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