Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said Moscow is holding to its part of the Syria agreement, but accused the rebels of using it to “regroup” and expressed hope that Washington would stick to its commitments.
“We see attempts to regroup among these terrorists, to switch one label for another, one name for another and keep their military capacity,” Putin said in televised remarks during a visit to the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek for a summit of former Soviet republics.
“This is what we are seeing and that is sad,” he added, saying Washington is facing a “rather difficult problem… to separate the opposition (to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) from terrorists.”
He said Washington apparently “has the desire to keep the capabilities to fight the lawful” regime of Assad, calling it a “very dangerous path.”
“Our partners (the United States) are calling for openness and transparency … but they are deviating from this postulate,” Putin told reporters.
“But we are more positive than negative and expect that promises given (by the Americans)… will be fulfilled,” he said.
“I would like us to be honest with one another and that is how we can move toward our mutual goals (to fight terrorism and achieve peace in Syria),” he said.
“I don’t really understand why we have to hide any agreements, but we will of course refrain from revealing any details until our American partners agree to this,” he said.
Russia accused the United States of refusing to share details of the closed-door agreement on Syria with the U.N. Security Council Friday, which had to cancel its urgent meeting that was supposed to endorse the deal.
“They don’t want to make it public because the world community… will understand who is really not abiding to what,” Putin said of the deal, in reference to “regrouping” rebels.
Putin said he remained “positive rather than negative” on the deal, which has also been tested by air strikes and clashes amid accusations that Assad’s forces are blocking aid from reaching the ravaged central city of Aleppo.
The Russian president insisted Moscow is adhering to its part of the agreement.
“As for Russia, it is fully honoring its obligations,” he said, adding Moscow reached relevant agreements with regime forces.
“We have reached agreements” with Assad. “As we see, Syrian forces are fully abiding by these agreements.”
Putin also commented on November’s U.S. presidential election, saying Moscow would support any person in any country who “is friendly to us.”
The U.S. Republican Party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump has spoken admiringly of Putin, spurring speculation about a possible thaw in currently still-frosty relations between Moscow and Washington if billionaire businessman wins the White House race.