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On Eve of his Meeting with Putin, Trump Accepts ‘Russian Syria’ without Iran | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Trump in Poland on Thursday. Reuters/Laszio Balogh

Hamburg, Moscow- On the eve of a meeting with his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin in Germany on Friday, US President Donald Trump said “we recognize that Syria requires a political solution that does not advance Iran’s destructive agenda and does not allow terrorist organizations to return.”

During his brief visit to Warsaw on Thursday, Trump said: “We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran, and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and the defense of civilization itself.”

Trump is scheduled to meet Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit convening in Hamburg, Germany.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said that despite unresolved differences between the US and Russia on a number of issues, “we have the potential to appropriately coordinate in Syria in order to produce stability and serve our mutual security interests.”

In Paris, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met on Thursday with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss anti-terrorist cooperation and the situation in Syria.

A statement issued by the French Foreign Ministry said Paris does not seek to place the departure of Bashar Assad as a precondition to any political talks, but added that “Assad cannot find a solution to the conflict in Syria.”

Surprisingly, chief of the Russian delegation to the Astana talks, Alexander Lavrentiev defended sending observers to the “de-escalation zones” in Syria, and said those were not a fighting unit, but only military observers already present in the area.

Lavrentiev said Russian military police would be deployed there.

Separately, the German news agency said Syrian army’s chief of staff General Ali Ayyoub visited his forces in the countryside of western Raqqa, the first such visit of a high-ranking military official to the stronghold of ISIS in the past four years.

A military statement quoted Ayyoub as saying “the regime, its friends and allies are determined to continue the war on terrorism.”