Russia confirms it sent Syrian refugee proposal to US

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MOSCOW, Aug 4, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Russia’s army on Saturday confirmed it
sent a letter to the United States last month with a proposal to cooperate on
rebuilding Syria and repatriating refugees after it was reported in the
media.

The Russian army’s chief of staff General Valery Gerasimov sent a letter
to the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford saying Moscow
is willing to cooperate with Washington in demining the war-torn country and
helping refugees return to their homes.

The letter had been reported in the media a day earlier, which angered
Russian authorities.

“It is disappointing that the American side is unable to comply with the
agreement on publicising the content of contact only after both sides agree,”
Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement.

It added that Gerasimov’s letter was in part “about the readiness of the
Russian side to work with the Syrian authorities to provide security
guarantees to refugees in the Rukban camp in the US-controlled Al-Tanf area
and to create conditions for their return to their homes.”

Moscow also suggested the two countries “coordinate” in demining the
country, including the city of Raqqa, and “address other priority
humanitarian issues for the urgent establishment of peaceful life in Syria.”

Addressing the UN Security Council last week, Russia urged world powers to
help Syria’s economic recovery and the return of refugees as its Damascus
ally pressed on with a campaign to re-take territory in the seven-year war.

In July, Moscow also presented the US with proposals for the return of
refugees from Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt that would involve
international financial support.

Russia has been a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the
conflict, which has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced millions.

Moscow’s 2015 military intervention in support of Assad was widely seen as
a turning point in the war.

 

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