Russia will present a UN draft resolution on Wednesday to the Security Council on countering terrorism to build up the fight against the Islamic State group, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Lavrov addressed a special Security Council meeting as Russian warplanes carried out their first air strikes in Syria, hitting targets in three provinces. The foreign minister said Russia was ready to set up “standing channels of communication” with the US-led coalition to coordinate military operations in Syria.
The contacts would “ensure a maximally effective fight against terrorist groups,” he said. Russia chaired the special meeting on counterterrorism as Russia and the United States were locked in a dispute over fighting the Islamic State in Syria and ending the four-year war.
Lavrov said President Vladimir Putin had proposed the UN measure in his speech to the General Assembly to coordinate “all forces standing up against Islamic State and other terrorist structures.” The foreign minister added that he expected “comprehensive discussion” in the coming weeks on the draft text, but stressed that there was a need “now to forge practical cooperation.”
Russia’s deepening engagement in Syria comes as Putin and US President Barack Obama push rival plans on ways to defeat IS and on the future role of the country’s leader Bashar al-Assad. The Russian parliament unanimously approved earlier a request from Putin to carry out the military operation, Moscow’s first engagement in a distant theater of war since the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.