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US will not support Russian unilateral action in Syria: WH

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Washington: The US has rejected a Russian proposal to hold talks with its Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev here on developing joint efforts towards Syria, saying the Obama Administration will not support Moscow’s unilateral action in the war-torn country.

“Russia has their own agenda, and it’s an agenda right now that they’re pursuing on their own. So it’s not particularly surprising to me that President Putin would resort in some desperation to try to send the second highest-ranking official in the Russian government to the United States to try to convince us to join them,” White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday.

He was responding to questions about a Russian proposal in this regard.

Russian had proposed to send a military delegation, headed by Medvedev, to discuss coordinated action on the fight against terrorism in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Moscow a day earlier.

“I think the stated intentions, as described by (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin, was that this was a delegation that could facilitate military cooperation, coordination between the United States and Russia.

“To be blunt about it we’ve said that we’re not interested in doing that as long as Russia is not willing to make a constructive contribution to our counter-ISIL effort,” Earnest said.

The fact is, the request has fallen on deaf ears not just when it comes to the US, but to the other 65 members of US-led counter-ISIL coalition.

“We do continue to see some reports that Iranian forces are ramping up their presence inside of Syria. We’re obviously watching that situation quite closely and it’s consistent with what they’ve done in the past, but it’s an indication of just how isolated Russia is as they carry out this unilateral action,” he said.

“The only people that are coordinating with them right now is the fledgling Assad government, such as it is, and the Iranians who had been engaged in the kind of destabilising activity inside of Syria that has made them the target for US and international sanctions,” Earnest said.

“So it’s not surprising to me that Vladimir Putin is ready to resort to sending his Prime Minister to the United States to try to get us to go along with their unilateral action inside of Syria. But we’re not going to do that.

“We would welcome a constructive Russian contribution that’s integrated with the international effort against ISIL that’s currently underway. But Russia has a different plan,” the White House spokesman said.