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Home News US and Russian militaries launch talks on Syria

US and Russian militaries launch talks on Syria

Published on 18/09/2015

The United States and Russian militaries renewed high-level contacts on Friday to discuss their roles in the conflict in Syria.

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke by telephone, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

“The secretary and the minister talked about areas where the United States and Russia’s perspectives overlap and areas of divergence,” he said.

“They agreed to further discuss mechanisms for deconfliction in Syria and the counter-ISIL campaign,” he added, referring to the Islamic State group.

In military terms, “deconfliction” means rival armies will talk to one another to avoid accidental encounters between their forces.

The United States is leading a coalition of allies in air strikes against the Islamic State jihadists.

Russia, meanwhile, is providing military support to Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime, a build-up which has raised concerns in Washington.

The United States and NATO broke off direct military contacts with Moscow in April last year in protest at Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

“The secretary emphasized the importance of pursuing such consultations in parallel with diplomatic talks that would ensure a political transition in Syria,” Cook said, in a statement.

“He noted that defeating ISIL and ensuring a political transition are objectives that need to be pursued at the same time. Both the secretary and the minister agreed to continue their dialogue.”