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Russia Emphasizes It Wants Closer Cooperation With U.S. On Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stressed that Moscow is hoping for closer cooperation with the United States on Syria under new U.S. President Donald Trump.

Lavrov spoke on February 13, ahead of two gatherings in Germany this week that could provide the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Russia is "counting on establishing close, much more effective interaction on Syria with Donald Trump's administration, given his absolutely unequivocal approach to terrorism as an absolute evil," Lavrov said.

Both Trump and Putin have called for closer cooperation against terrorism and the extremist group Islamic State, and the Kremlin and the White House indicated that was a major topic of discussion during their telephone conversation on January 28.

But so far there has been little public discussion of details.

Lavrov said that a new round of Syria peace talks sponsored by Russia, Turkey, and Iran will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on February 15-16.

Russia has given crucial diplomatic and military support to the Syrian government throughout a six-year-old civil war that has killed some 300,000 people.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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