US Defense Minister rejects Russian offer of co-operation in Syria
In Syria, together with Russia, we are providing the conditions for the prevention of air crashes in our operations against jihadists of the Islamic State, said Mattis.
US Defense Minister Jim Mattis responded with a cold tone Tuesday to Russia’s offer of co-operation in Syria presented by Moscow as a result of a summit meeting attended by Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
“In Syria, along with Russia, we are providing the conditions for the prevention of air crashes in our operations against the jihadists of the Islamic State Group (IS) in order to prevent situations dangerous for the soldiers of both countries,” the Pentagon leader said at a press conference.
“But we will not do anything more than this until the state secretary and president decide when we, together with our allies, will start co-operating with Russia,” said Mattis, who was in the company of US Secretary of State Mike Pompe.
“This has not happened yet and it would be too early to enter details at this moment because we do nothing more than that,” he concluded.
Pompeo made no comment on that, but confirmed on Friday that the Russian and US presidents at the July 16 summit discussed “resolving the Syrian conflict and returning refugees” from Lebanon and Jordan to their homeland.
On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry offered co-operation to the United States to ensure the return of refugees to Syria.
This offer “takes into account the agreement that the Russian and American presidents achieved at their meeting in Helsinki” on Monday, the top official of the ministry, General Mikhail Mizintsev, in a statement.
Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump have announced that they have agreed on several issues, notably on Syria, without specifying details, following a bilateral meeting in the Finnish capital.
Four days after the Pentagon announced additional military assistance of $ 200 million to Ukraine struggling with the pro-Russian separatists.