Wednesday, July 27, 2016

US, Russian defense officials hold talks on flights over Syria — Pentagon

Representatives of the Pentagon and Russia’s Defense Ministry held a videoconference on Tuesday to discuss issues of ensuring flight safety over Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook reported.

According to him, "the Department of Defense today (Tuesday) held a video conference co-chaired by Acting Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs Elissa Slotkin and Rear Adm. Michael J. Dumont, deputy director, J-5, Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff, with Russian Ministry of Defense counterparts".

The Pentagon representative said that the two countries’ military "discussed the safety of operations since the two sides last met to discuss Russian strikes at the Coalition-supported site at at-Tanf, Syria."

According to him, "both sides continue to discuss and develop measures to avoid such incidents. The two sides reiterated the need to adhere to measures to enhance operational safety and avoid accidents and misunderstandings in the air space over Syria. Today's meeting follows previous video conferences between the Department of Defense and the Russian Ministry of Defense on this topic. The conversation was constructive and the two sides agreed to continue safety discussions in this format in the future," Cook said.

The Russian Defense Ministry press service said previously that it was noted during the videoconference that the memorandum has demonstrated high efficiency since its signing nine months ago.

"Communication channels established in line with the above document make it possible to minimize the risk of accidents involving aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Troops and the US-led coalition," the ministry said. "Contacts of Russian and American experts through bilateral channels of communication will be continued. An agreement was reached to hold a new videoconference at the end of August of 2016," the report said.

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