Russia, US Agree to Intensify Intelligence Sharing on Islamic State

World | October 15, 2014, Wednesday // 10:42
Bulgaria: Russia, US Agree to Intensify Intelligence Sharing on Islamic State US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Photo EPA/BGNES

Russia and the United States have agreed to step up intelligence sharing about Islamic State group despite stark differences over the Ukraine crisis.

After more than three hours of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Paris on Tuesday the US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that Washington and Moscow both recognize that Islamic State “has absolutely no place in the 21st century."

"No decent country by any definition can support the horrors that are perpetrated” by   Islamic State militants, Kerry said. “And no civilized country should shirk its responsibility to stand up and be part of the effort to stamp out this disease.”

Kerry added he suggested to Lavrov that the two sides “intensify intelligence cooperation” with respect to Islamic State fighters who have taken over large parts of Iraq and Syria and other counter-terrorism challenges of the region “and we agreed to do so."

He also said Russia has agreed to ‘explore’ whether to increase its role in providing arms and military equipment to the Iraqi forces battling Islamic State, as well as training and  advising them.

Speaking at a separate news conference, Lavrov confirmed the two sides have agreed to share intelligence information on Islamic State and also he and Kerry “don't represent warring sides."

Kerry’s announcement signalled a decrease in tensions between the US and Russia over the Ukraine crisis that heightened earlier this year following the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula by Russia in March.

Lavrov agreed that while Russia and the US still had "differences of opinion," they both had a particular role to play in resolving global problems.

Referring to the Minsk agreements for ending the crisis, which the government in Kiev and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine had reached with the help of the Contact Group on Ukraine, Lavrov stressed that its settlement “is possible only via direct negotiations and agreements between the conflicting parties.”

"It's important not to dilute the existing process, not to get distracted by some artificial formats, but to seek full implementation of the agreements” between Kiev and the rebels, Lavrov said.

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Tags: United States, Russia, Kerry, Lavrov, Ukraine, Islamic state, Crimea
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