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    Ilya Rogachyov gives interview

    IS Poses Threat to Russia, Moscow Ready to Cooperate With West: Official

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    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)
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    Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department says the Islamic State (IS) militants pose the same threat to Russia as they do to the West; Russia is ready to support legitimate governments in the Middle East to fight extremists and expand cooperation with Western countries in combating global terrorism.

    MOSCOW, January 13 (Sputnik) – The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group poses the same threat to Russia as it does to Western countries, Ilya Rogachev, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department of new challenges and threats, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

    “ISIL [IS] represents a certain threat to Russia. To a large extent [the threat] is similar to the one that the organization poses to Western countries and I do not think that there is some fundamental difference that would divide us and prevent us from working together to effectively combat it [the threat]," the Russian diplomat said.

    Rogachev also added that instead of "undermining" legitimate governments in the Middle East, it is important that other countries help them to fight extremists, including Islamic State (IS) militants.

    "The difference in views [of Russia and the members of the anti-IS coalition] is rooted in the different approach toward the genesis of the crisis: we think that instead of undermining legitimate governments and thus creating favorable conditions for extremist forces and, worse, encouraging them in any way or enabling them, we should help the legitimate governments to fight those forces effectively," Rogachev said.

    He added that Moscow "is providing significant help" to the Iraqi and Syrian governments.

    Rogachev also said that although Russia and countries in the anti-IS coalition have differences in their views, they should not be obstacles to cooperation in the fight against the global terrorist threat.

    Rogachev said Russia is ready to expand cooperation with Western countries in countering terrorism.

    “Of course we are ready. We have always said that we are ready for expansion and deepening on this cooperation, especially in this situation, when this cooperation with the historical Western countries, with the United States and their closest allies is minimized at the initiative of the Unites States and these partners," Rogachev said.

    "Many multilateral formats are frozen, the connections on the two-sided channels are also stopped. But we are definitely ready for the resumption of […] contacts,” Rogachev added.

    Cooperation between Russia and the West in many areas has been limited recently as the United States and its allies continue to hold Moscow responsible for interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs, a claim the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

    Rogachev also stated that Moscow has made several attempts over the past six months to persuade the West not to minimize those key contacts residing “in the area of battling new threats and challenges,” which, he states, are mutually beneficial.

    Asked whether there is a chance that good relations between Russia and the West will be restored in the near future, Rogachev said “Let’s hope so.”

    After a series of terrorist attacks in France past week, many world leaders decided to combine efforts in battling global terrorism. On Sunday, US Attorney General Eric Holder said that the United States will invite allies to take part in a security summit in Washington on February 18 in an attempt to curb extremist violence. Moscow has not confirmed its participation yet.

    Rogachev stressed cooperation without a political or ideological basis with all countries, including the West, in the war against terrorism is crucial to Moscow.

    "Dramatic terrorist acts give an impulse to international cooperation, including with the participation of the Russian Federation, the way it was as a result of terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001," Rogachev said.

    "It would be better to cooperate fully on a permanent basis with the Russian Federation without those politicized, ideological methods, especially in fields where our interests largely coincide," Rogachev said.

    The IS militant group, which overran large swathes of Iraq and Syria, became one of the main global problems in 2014. The group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, proclaimed a caliphate on the territories under its control, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

    A force of more than 30,000 jihadists are fighting for the IS, according to US authorities.

    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)


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