Kerry: Brussels Attacks Confirm Need for Effective US-Russia Work in Syria

© REUTERS / Maxim ZmeyevRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, March 24, 2016
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, March 24, 2016 - Sputnik International
The terrorist attacks in the Belgian capital showed that effective cooperation between Moscow and Washington in Syria against extremists is crucial, US Secretary of State John Kerry said.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels confirm the need for effective work by the United States and Russia in Syria, aimed at the cessation of hostilities in that country, US State Secretary John Kerry said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television during his visit to Moscow.

Two suicide blasts hit the departures hall of Brussels international airport on Tuesday and an explosion shook a subway carriage in Maelbeek station, close to the EU institutions, killing at least 31 people and injuring 300. Daesh, outlawed in many countries including Russia and the United States, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

"Really nothing could do more to affect what happened in Brussels than to get the United States and Russia effectively on the same page regarding Syria and end the fighting in Syria. If we end the war in Syria, we will end the pressure on all of the region with the refugees, with people, with violent extremists who are using the chaos as a means of enhancing their goals. The sooner we end the chaos, the sooner we isolate the terrorists, the sooner we restore stability and peace." 

"That’s why this meeting with President Putin is so important. Because if we can move together more effectively, we could be far more efficient in our ability to find the terrorists, to eliminate the threats and the plots that exist today," he stressed.

Moscow needs to take a number of important decisions on cooperation with Washington in the fight against Daesh to restore stability in the Middle East, Kerry said.

"We’re actually very pleased that Russia is concerned about that extremism and wants to fight against Daesh and other extremists, so the key here is to find clarity in our definitions, make sure we’re really working effectively together without hidden agenda in a way that can rapidly destroy Daesh, push back against violent extremism, restore peace and stability in the region. And there are some big choices frankly that President Putin and Russia need to make with respect to how we do that," Kerry said.

Russia has repeatedly voiced its willingness to fight against international terrorism, the Daesh terrorist group in particular, and cooperate with other nations on this matter.

Daesh has captured large areas of land in Syria and Iraq, where it proclaimed a caliphate. The terror group is outlawed in Russia, the United States and in several other countries.

Kerry: US, Russia Have Chance to Return to Better Relations

The United States and Russia are making progress in joint efforts on various issues and both countries have a chance to return to stronger and more effective relations, US State Secretary John Kerry said.

"We’re making progress, I think that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and I have had a very productive relationship, and we’ve been able to separate differences and work together in a very effective way," he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with his US counterpart John Kerry - Sputnik International
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"I think it’s safe to say that the United States-Russia joint effort on the ceasefire has had an impact, it’s been very positive, and that’s the way we can go back to much a stronger and more effective relationship," Kerry said.

"There are irritants in our relationship on both sides which I think both sides would like to see us being able to address but most importantly we all in the world face the challenge of violent extremism," he added.

The US politician and diplomat arrived in the Russian capital for a two-day visit on Wednesday. On Thursday, he held meetings with Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia is ready for constructive relations with the United States on the basis of equality, the Russian foreign minister stated at a press conference with Kerry.

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