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US Must Engage With Russia on Syria, Keep on Assessing Its Actions - State Dept.

© AP Photo / Hassan AmmarSmoke rises after airstrikes targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria
Smoke rises after airstrikes targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States needs to continue engaging with Russia on Syria while at the same time assessing Russian actions on its commitments, the US senior diplomat Hale said in Washington, DC on Thursday.

"Despite our low level of trust, we must engage Russia while assessing actions and follow-through on its commitments, starting with Russia’s commitment to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254," US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said during remarks at the Middle East Institute.

Hale further mentioned calls for a ceasefire and political settlement to the conflict in Syria.

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The official also said Russian intervention saved Syrian President Bashar Assad from "certain defeat" in the ongoing conflict.

In addition, the top US diplomat accused Russia of encouraging conflict in other countries the region, including in Libya.

"We’ve also seen in Libya, how Russia’s encouraging parties to continue fighting, just while the rest of us are urging them to come to the negotiating table," Hale said.

The diplomat's comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin has underscored the need for all parties to avoid aggravating the situation in Libya and has emphasized the need to restore the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

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Russia has also lent its support to Italy's efforts to host an international conference on Libya on November 12 and 13.

Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with the government forces fighting numerous opposition groups and terrorist organizations. Russia, along with Turkey and Iran are guarantors of the ceasefire regime in Syria.

Libya has been in turmoil since the overthrow of its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The eastern part of the country is governed by the parliament, backed by the Libyan National Army (LNA) and located in Tobruk. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, operates in the country's west and is headquartered in Tripoli.

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