Publication Date : Saturday 25 October 2014 18:48
Russia has not agreed to train Iraqi troops: Lavrov
Russia has not agreed to train troops in Iraq as proposed by United States Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a televised interview Saturday.
"There was no agreement that we will send our instructors to train the army in Iraq," Lavrov told Rossiya-1 television.
After a meeting with Lavrov in Paris Oct. 14, Kerry said that the top diplomats "agreed to explore whether Russia could do more to support Iraqi Security Forces".
Kerry said Lavrov had acknowledged Russia's "preparedness to help with respect to arms, weapons.... and also potentially with the training and advising aspects".
Lavrov also reiterated his earlier denial that Russia had agreed with the U.S. to ramp up intelligence sharing over ISIS.
"There was no agreement that we will exchange information in the context of the activities of the so-called coalition created by the Americans to fight the Islamic State," Lavrov said.
Lavrov said he told Kerry: "If you want to work jointly with us, let's not do it on a selective basis, but as part of agreed mechanisms." He gave the example of a U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission set up in 2009 to improve relations between the countries, which has suspended activities.
Russia's rejection of such intelligence-sharing contradicted Kerry, who said Oct. 14 that he and Lavrov had agreed "to intensify intelligence cooperation with respect to ISIL (Islamic State) and other counter-terrorism challenges."
Russian President Vladimir Putin in a keynote speech to Russia experts and journalists on Friday strongly criticized the United States' actions in Iraq, saying that former soldiers in Saddam Hussein's army had swelled the ranks of ISIS and "act very effectively from a military point of view".
Putin talked of a "change in the world order", saying that the world is no longer "unipolar, there is not one single ruling power. Even if the Americans think they can rule the world, that's impossible."