Excerpts from Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum

September 2, 2016

For several weeks now, in conjunction with the United States, as two co-chairs of the ISSG, as two countries that are effectively engaging terrorist targets in Syria, we have been conducting intensive consultations to develop a single plan of action based on the coordination of antiterrorist efforts. This was the focus of my meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on August 26 in Geneva, as well as of our numerous telephone conversations. This issue began to be addressed in a substantive way after Mr Kerry visited Moscow on July 15 and was received by President Putin.

Daily and weekly contacts between the Russian and US militaries and special services continue in order to develop such a plan. We expect this work to be finished in the near future. Practically all components of this task are already clear. Mutual understanding has been reached on most issues. The most important thing, however, is that none of our agreements with the Americans on practical actions and the coordination of operations against terrorists and the coordination of Aerospace Forces operations with the USAF and the US-led coalition will be implemented unless our US partners fulfill the promise they made a long time ago to separate opposition groups working with the United States from terrorists, primarily Jabhat al-Nusra. Many groups, which the Americans deem to be acceptable for negotiations, have effectively teamed up with Jabhat al-Nusra (or whatever it is called now). Jabhat al-Nusra is using them to avoid being attacked. This situation cannot go on forever. To reiterate, the resolution of this major problem is crucial for the implementation of plans for an antiterrorist operation that have already been largely coordinated between us and the Americans.