C. Asian states downplay ‘Russia proposal’ to send troops to Syria

Updated 24 June 2017
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C. Asian states downplay ‘Russia proposal’ to send troops to Syria

BISHKEK: Ex-Soviet Central Asia countries Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Friday downplayed reported proposals from Moscow to send their troops to assist in peacemaking efforts in Syria.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdyrakmanov said the oil-rich Central Asian country was “not negotiating with anybody” on sending soldiers to Syria to police de-escalation zones.
Abdyrakmanov’s comments came after Vladimir Shamanov, head of Russia’s lower house of Parliament’s defense committee, told RIA Novosti news agency that Moscow had made “proposals to our colleagues from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan” on the subject.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also said Thursday: “There is even a suggestion from the Russians: Maybe Kyrgyz, the Kazakhs could send a certain number of forces.”
Kazakhstan said diplomats would “discuss this and other questions” on July 4-5 at upcoming Syria peace talks spearheaded by Russia in the country’s capital of Astana.
But he stressed that the UN Security Council would need to approve such a move.
“A crucially important condition for our country to consider the possibility of sending its peacekeepers to any conflict zone ... is a UN Security Council resolution and the necessary mandate,” he said.
The secretary of Kyrygzstan’s national security committee Temir Djumakadyrov said “the question had been raised” within the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russia-led security bloc, but that there were “no negotiations” at present.
“We have received no official proposals from Russia concerning the transfer of our troops to Syria,” Djumakadyrov told AFP by telephone.
The country’s Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev told Russia’s Interfax news agency that the question was not discussed when Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev met Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week.
Daesh and other militant groups have gained thousands of recruits from the mainly Muslim ex-Soviet Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.


Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Updated 23 March 2019
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Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

  • After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism”
  • The visit to Egypt is Abdul Mahdi’s first trip abroad since taking office in October

CAIRO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October.
After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism” and said “cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter,” according to an official statement.
His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured Daesh’s last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.
Though the defeat ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some Daesh fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The United States thinks the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.
Defeating militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of El-Sisi, the general-turned-president who came to power a year after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Egypt has fought an insurgency waged by a Daesh affiliate in North Sinai since 2013. Hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed.