Russia pledges support to ISIS opponents, no plans to join US-led coalition
“The anti-ISIL coalition is not a club party – we do not expect any invitations and we are not going to buy entry tickets,” said Ilya Rogachev, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for New Challenges and Threats.At the same time Russia will continue to support all states that fight against the Islamic State, the official told the Interfax news agency on Friday.
Rogachev used the older name ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) for the group that was also known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and that is now acting simply under the name Islamic State (IS).
Russia supports Iraq and its help has already allowed this country to improve its defenses markedly. It is also supporting the Syrian government in its fight against extremism, Rogachev told reporters. He added that Russia was ready to help all IS opponents, including members of the coalition being formed by the US, but under the condition that they stop using double standards and remain within the framework of international law.
On September 11, US Secretary of State John Kerry told Voice of America radio that the US presidential administration was disappointed by Russia’s initial reaction to Barack Obama’s speech on the Islamic State and the threats that come from this group. Kerry also noted that the Islamic State represented a direct threat to Russia itself. The US official said that in his view Russia must join the international fight against the IS terrorists.
Kerry’s words were a reaction to the position expressed by Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Aleksander Lukashevich, who had earlier warned the US and its allies against launching an attack against IS on Syrian territory, saying that such actions would amount to an act of aggression and a violation of international law.
Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged all nations not to show political ambitions while fighting terrorism. Lavrov made this statement during the Paris conference dedicated to the situation in Iraq and the rise of the Islamic State group.
“Syria and Iran are our natural allies in the fight against IS, and their participation in today’s meeting could have significantly enriched our work. Moral standards on which the anti-terrorism battle is based shouldn’t become vague,” the top Russian diplomat said.