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Russia welcome in anti-IS coalition if it changes strategy

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015,10:58 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington | The US has said it will welcome Russia in the 65-nation coalition against ISIS, provided Moscow changes its strategy to focus on the terror organisation rather than propping up the failed Bashar al-Assad regime.

If Russia is prepared to change their strategy and prepared to focus their efforts on ISIS, and to work with the international community to do that, then the US would welcome them as members of its coalition, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.

Certainly their efforts and the resources that they can bring to bear would be important. But thus far, they’ve been unable to do that. They focused on another goal, and it is not one that has allowed them to build a coalition on nearly the scale of what the United States has built, he said.

Earnest said US President Barack Obama has been pretty blunt about what Russia is doing. Right now, what Russia is doing is they are undermining our effort to reach a political settlement, and they are doing that because they are concerned primarily with propping up the failed regime of Bashar al-Assad, he said.

Those efforts only undermine our ability to engage the moderate Syrian opposition in a discussion about the long-overdue political transition that even Russia acknowledges is needed and long overdue inside of Syria, he said.

Earnest said that there is no evidence of erosion of its 65-nation coalition against ISIS. There’s zero evidence of that, he said when asked if the US-led coalition is eroding in any way with Russia looking to form their own coalition.