Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed hope that Washington will join Moscow in efforts to counter international terrorism, stressing that bilateral cooperation is in the interest of the entire world.
“We hope to join efforts with the United States in the fight against a real rather than dreamt-up threat – global terrorism,” Putin said at his 13th State of the Nation address to Russia’s Federal Assembly in the Kremlin in Moscow on Thursday.
Ties between Russia and the US have reached a post-Cold War low over the crisis in Ukraine and the war on Syria, where Moscow and Washington are backing the opposite sides to the conflict gripping the Middle Eastern country for more than five years.
The Russian leader noted that his country is looking forward to mending relations with the US after President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.
“We are ready for cooperation with the new American administration,” he said, adding, “It’s important to normalize and develop our bilateral ties on an equal and mutually beneficial basis. We share responsibility for ensuring global security and stability and strengthening the non-proliferation regime.”
Putin further thanked Russian military service personnel for their “professionalism, honor and courage” in Syria, where Moscow has been engaged in an aerial campaign against Daesh and other terror outfits at the Damascus government’s request since September last year.
“Precisely that (fighting global terrorism) is the task of our military in Syria. Terrorists have suffered some serious damage. The Russian Army and Navy have assuredly demonstrated that they are able to operate efficiently far from their home bases,” he said.
The Russian president also hailed Russia’s cooperation with China as “a role model for international partnership.”
Lavrov calls for fresh start in US ties
Separately, Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged a fresh start in relations with the US under Trump.
“We are confident that the new administration does not want to repeat the errors of the outgoing one, which deliberately destroyed US-Russian relations,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, released on Thursday.
He further expressed Russia’s readiness “for honest, pragmatic dialogue with Washington on all bilateral and global questions.”
Russia, Turkey demand end to violence in Syria
In another development on Thursday, Lavrov met with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in the Turkish resort town of Alanya.
During a joint presser following the meeting, the top Russian diplomat underlined that Moscow and Ankara were “united in the understanding that it is necessary to end the terrorist threat in this country (Syria) as soon as possible, to stop the bloodshed.”
Lavrov also stressed that Moscow will continue its support for the Syrian government until the divided city of Aleppo is “cleared of terrorists.”
Cavusoglu, for his part, said the two countries want a ceasefire in Syria.
He further called for effective mechanisms for a political settlement of the crisis in Syria and expressed hope for cooperation with Russia in Syria in the region.
Ankara and Moscow have long been at odds over the conflict in Syria, where Russia supports the government of President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey backs anti-Damascus terrorists.
Turkey stands accused of allowing militants to use its territory for travel and shipment of arms into Syria and buying smuggled oil from militants. Ankara has also launched an incursion into Syria under the pretext of fighting terrorists.