Russian, US ideas on Syria de-escalation zones could be compatible

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who last set foot in Washington in 2013 would be the highest ranking Russian official to meet President Donald Trump since he took office

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who last set foot in Washington in 2013 would be the highest ranking Russian official to meet President Donald Trump since he took office

Since March 2011, the United States and its regional allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey and the UAE, have been conducting a proxy war against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is allied with Iran and Russian Federation.

Mr. Trump said this as he hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the White House, a day after he sacked Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey, who was leading the probe into Russia's meddling in the polls that brought him to power.

McMaster said a number of issues in global security would be easier to address "if Russian Federation would come to the conclusion that it could best advance its interests from cooperating with the United States and others to resolve those conflicts rather than perpetuate them".

Russia, Turkey and Iran signed a memorandum on creating four zones at talks involving the Syrian government and opposition groups in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, last week.

Referring to the recent deal on de-escalation zones signed on May 4 by Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation, the three countries behind peace efforts in Syria, during the fourth round of the Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, Falahatpisheh stressed that political negotiations are the only way to end Syria's crisis.

Over the past six years Moscow and Washington have sparred multiple times over the conflict in Syria, especially concerning Assad's fate.

Washington gave the deal a skeptical welcome, rejecting Tehran's proposed role as a guarantor even as it expressed hope the agreement could set the stage for a later settlement.

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"We want to see the killing, the awful killing, stopped in Syria as soon as possible and everyone is working toward that end", Trump said after the meeting.

"We will look at the proposal, see if it can work", said Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on Monday.

Several ceasefires have been agreed on since Syria's conflict broke out, but they have failed to stem the fighting.

The deputy foreign minister said: "Of course there are differences and difficulties between the two sides and this requires additional political and diplomatic efforts".

Trump "also raised the possibility of broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East", the White House said.

"We had a very, very good meeting" Trump said shortly after the meeting.

Tillerson and Lavrov's meeting in Alaska comes 150 years after Washington purchased the U.S. state from Moscow.

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