All Syria-related issues to be discussed at Russian-US summit in Helsinki — Lavrov

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump will discuss in detail the situation around Syria, including the developments in the south of that country at a meeting in Helsinki on July 16, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday following talks with top Jordanian diplomat Ayman Safadi, TASS reports.

“All Syria-related issues are likely to be discussed in Helsinki,” the Russian minister said. “The agreement on this area [Syria’s southern de-escalation zone] does exist. It was enshrined in those decisions, which were made by Presidents Putin and Trump at their meetings in Hamburg last July and in Da Nang last November. Then these decisions were supported with Jordan’s participation. These decisions provide for a certain sequence of actions, thanks to which there will be no non-Syrian forces left in the region.”

The Russian minister stressed that the Syrian army will ultimately have to control the border with Israel, adding that “there will be no allowances to the units of Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State (IS) operating in that area.”

“The part of the agreements that depended on Russia has been implemented to a large extent. The issue at hand is now that our partners should do what they pledged [to do] as part of those two agreements reached last year,” Lavrov said. He emphasized that “it is necessary to avoid any pretexts not to counter terrorists and not to expel them from that area.”

In July 2017, Moscow, Washington and Amman reached an agreement on setting up a de-escalation zone in southwestern Syria, which included that country’s three most important southern provinces, namely, Daraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda.

The situation there has deteriorated over the past few months. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, attempts have been made in the Daraa area by the Syrian opposition, the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra backed by the US to create an autonomy in southern Syria, which could lead to the country’s break-up.

This article provided by NewsEdge.