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Moscow interested in UN-led anti-terror coalition: Lavrov

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) greets Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah as they enter a hall for their talks in Moscow on December 25, 2015. ©AP

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia supports the formation of an international anti-terror coalition under the supervision of the United Nations, amid diplomatic efforts to end the Syria conflict.

“Russia is very interested in a truly integrated anti-terrorism alliance” under the UN coordination and based on international law, Lavrov said at a joint news conference with his Qatari counterpart Khalid Bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah in Moscow.

He was reacting to recent claims by Saudi Arabia that it had patched together a coalition of 34 countries to fight against terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and Syria.

Saudi Arabia's announcement has surprised some of the countries because their names have been included without their knowledge.

Lavrov further said Moscow and Doha have “reached an understanding” to work together and make sure a list of Syrian opposition is drawn up in order for the international talks on the conflict in Syria to bear fruit. He did not disclose details about the agreement.

The two sides, however, still disagree on the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Russian foreign minister said.

Lavrov said, “It’s up to the Syrian people” to decide Assad’s political future.

“Many of our partner nations used to insist that Assad regime is illegal, but we are seeing a positive change in their views. Also, we are in favor of holding talks between the government of Syria and opposition factions,” the Russian minister added.

On December 18, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting an international roadmap for a peace process in Syria. The resolution came after the third round of Syria talks in New York. The world body seeks to convene peace negotiations in Geneva sometime in January 2016.

Senior diplomats from various countries meet during international talks on the Syrian conflict in New York on December 18, 2015. ©AFP

Participants in the talks are trying to work out a list of legitimate opposition groups, as opposed to terrorists, in Syria to engage in talks with the government in Damascus.

The conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and left over one million injured since March 2011, according to the United Nations. It has also displaced nearly half of the country’s population.

The UN says 12.2 million people, including more than 5.6 million children, remain in need of humanitarian assistance.

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