Russia suggests studying causes of extremism in Middle East, North Africa with UN Security Council support, says Lavrov

The agenda of the French conference on peace and security in Iraq does not reflect the broadness of the terrorism issue and a comprehensive analysis of the problem of terrorism in the Middle East needs to be conducted with support from the UN Security Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

The agenda of the French conference on peace and security in Iraq does not reflect the broadness of the terrorism issue and a comprehensive analysis of the problem of terrorism in the Middle East needs to be conducted with support from the UN Security Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

"The terrorism threat is much more comprehensive than today's agenda, it's much broader in terms of geography. Welcoming the initiative of France, we suggest that all regional and international players discuss the idea of beginning a deep and comprehensive study of extremism and terrorism issues in the Middle East and North Africa with the mediation of the UN Security Council," Lavrov said the conference on peace and security in Iraq held in Paris.

"We believe it is necessary to study the in-depth causes, not just the symptoms of the increase in extremism. We should be able to have a close discussion on the consequences of the wars and aggressions of the past, the reasons why the negotiations on very old conflicts are deadlocked, including the lack of progress on the Arab peace initiative," Lavrov said.

"Everyone agrees that the unresolved Palestinian problem helps terrorists brainwash children and young people and recruit new members."

"We are hoping that today's meeting will be useful in terms of the discussion of the needs of the government of Iraq and the international efforts to fight terrorism under the aegis of the UN," the minister said.

"The 'Islamic State' commanders should not have any illusions. They do not represent Islam and they will never be allowed to create their own state," the minister said.

"They are trying to impose on Muslims irreconcilable approaches to other religions and the outside world, which contradict the true values of Islam as one of the main world religions," he said.

Lavrov reiterated that the fight against terrorism will not be successful if terrorists are divided into "good" and "bad."

"Unfortunately, this fundamental principle is not being followed closely enough in the Middle East and North Africa and it has been more than once sacrificed to overthrow regimes in various countries that for some reason fell into disfavor with the West," Lavrov said.

The minister said that was what happened in Libya, when Western partners turned a blind eye to the increase in extremists' fight to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi and supplied weapons to them. "The hasty declaration of Bashar Assad as 'illegitimate" more than three years ago weakened the fight against terrorist groups in Syria," Lavrov said.

Lavrov said the situation could have changed after the G8 summit in June 2013, when the Syrian government and opposition were urged to unite to cause terrorists to leave the country. "However, that call stayed on paper and ISIL managed to grow and intensify their activities in Iraq and Syria," Lavrov said.

Lavrov said the actions taken in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was overthrown were very wrong because they fully ignored the real situation and the traditions of Iraq, which caused a lengthy civil war there. "We welcome the firm adherence of the Iraqi leaders to overcome the consequences of this foreign influence and assistance to national reconciliation," he said.

"If we want to prevail, all our actions need to be based on a firm and clear understanding that the increase in extremism is the main threat to the region. Its containment should be the key priority, despite any other national plans of any countries in the region. There is a need for practical unification of all states, both in the region and outside it, that really adhere to the idea of counterterrorism," Lavrov said.

The minister said "the Russian Federation is ready to participate in the development of common measures to fight terrorism."

"We are already providing considerable military and other assistance to strengthen the anti-terrorist potential of Iraq, Syria and other countries of the region, which are in the frontline I the fight against ISIL and other groups," Lavrov said.

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