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‘Russia welcome in anti-IS coalition it changes Syria stand’

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Washington: The United States and France today said they would welcome Russia in the 65-nation global coalition against Islamic State if it changes its strategy in Syria.

US President Barack Obama and his French counterpart Francois Hollande made their views clear at a joint White House news conference, asserting that the two countries would like Russia to join the international coalition and this would further strengthen the fight against IS.

“President Hollande and I agree that the Russia’s strikes against the moderate opposition only bolster the Assad regime, whose brutality has helped to fuel the rise of ISIL. We agree that Russia could play a more constructive role if it were to shift the focus of its strike to defeating ISIL,” Obama said.

“Likewise, President Hollande and I agree that the best way to bring peace to Syria is through the principles reaffirmed in Vienna, which require active Russian support for a cease-fire and a political transition away from Assad to a democratically elected government that can unite the Syrian people against terrorists,” he said after the Oval office meeting between the two leaders.

Responding to a question, Obama said while the US and France have a coalition of 65 countries who have been active in pushing back IS for quite some time, Obama said Russia right now is a coalition of two — Iran and Russia, supporting Assad.