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Russia’s Lavrov Says Cooperation with US on Syria ‘Not without Problems’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a news conference after a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Moscow April 7, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

There are problems with cooperation between Russia and the United States in Syria, Interfax news agency cited Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Friday.

“How we are cooperating on Syria – yes, not without problems of course, because not everyone takes things the same way,” Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying.

“Nevertheless, it is an example of how you can set aside differences and concentrate on common interests.”

On that note, Syria’s regime struck a deal to buy 3 million tons of wheat from its ally Russia over three years and is working to secure credit finance from Moscow for the grain, Syria’s internal trade minister told Reuters.

Beside providing Syrian regime head Bashar al-Assad with vital military support in the country’s six-year conflict, Moscow has also supplied some wheat, which is critical for the production of the country’s heavily subsidized staple flat bread.

“There are contracts being followed up with Russia,” Abdullah al-Gharbi, the minister of internal trade and consumer protection, said in an interview.

“Now, there is a three-year contract we signed, and we are trying to secure finances for it from the Russian side,” he said, adding the overall deal was for 3 million tons.

“We are importing around 1.7 million tons this year from Russia,” Gharbi said.

US and EU banking sanctions and asset freezes against Syria have made it difficult for some commodity trading houses to do business with the Syrian government, though trade with Russia poses fewer problems.

Russia’s Agriculture Ministry declined to comment.

Syria has announced several large commercial deals for Russian wheat in the past twelve months, but none has so far been fulfilled, according to Russian customs data.