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Obama Seeks Cooperation with Russia in Syria despite Differences - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Washington and Moscow – U.S. President Barack Obama declared that U.S. still seeks cooperation with Russia to reach diplomatic solutions for struggles in Syria and Ukraine.

At the same time, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said that his country started cooperation with U.S. in Aleppo, Syria.

Obama spoke during a press conference in the White House regarding the hacking of Democratic Party Committee (DPC). Russia is accused of hacking the DPC systems yet Obama said if confirmed, this would not dramatically change the already troubled relations between the countries.

Obama described the U.S.-Russian relations as “tough and difficult relationship”.

Yet, he admitted that despite that, the United States would continue to push “Russia and those separatists to lay down arms and stop bullying Ukraine.”

Obama added: “It’s not going to stop us from trying to make sure that we can bring a political transition inside of Syria that can end the hardship there.”

Earlier, U.S. State Secretary John Kerry called upon Russia, Syrian regime, and armed factions to restrain themselves.

Kerry told reporters: “It is critical, obviously, that Russia restrain both itself and the Assad regime from conducting offensive operations, just as it is our responsibility to get the opposition to refrain from engaging in those operations,” Kerry told reporters.

Kerry hinted that the framework of the political transition for regime and opposition set by the international community might have failed.

“We will see in the course of the next hours, few days, whether or not that dynamic can be changed,” he added.

U.S. Secretary also said: “These are important days to determine whether or not Russia and the Assad regime are going to live up to the effort to end the violence and to resume peace talks.”

“The evidence thus far is very troubling to everybody,” he concluded.

Kerry’s statement issued a series of comments from the press that led to an argument during State Department spokesman John Kirby news briefing.

He commented: “What the secretary… said again yesterday was, in essence, our patience is not infinite.

Kirby added that Kerry meant a diplomatic approach but officials will continue to look for alternatives and other options. He refused to declare a new date for the Geneva talks saying that the date previously set at the beginning of this month was not sacred.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia has no intentions of launching an offensive on Aleppo and it is purely a humanitarian operation.

“There are no plans of an offensive in Aleppo neither by Syrian forces, nor through airstrikes by the Russian Aerospace Forces. Absolutely false and harmful interpretations of our actions are voiced by certain circles in Washington,” Ryabkov said.

Ryabkov criticized U.S. State Secretary’s statements in which he condemned Russia’s role in Syria.

Deputy Foreign Minister told Ria Novesti News Agency that U.S. demanded that Russia stops war on terrorism in Syria. He added: “As soon as there is real headway in fighting terrorists, made by the Syrian government and army with our support, the Americans started… demanding that we stop fighting terrorists.”

According to Ryabkov, Russian-U.S. partnership in Syria cannot be genuine as long as Washington puts forward additional demands.

He told the agency: “We have repeatedly drawn to the Americans’ attention the fact that, after each successful round of closed negotiations and after reaching certain agreements, Washington begins putting forward additional requirements that violate the entire balance and prevent progress immediately afterward.”