Photo: TASS – 2/2/17

Arab countries have lent their support to Russia’s call for a global anti-terror front, says Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after the fourth session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.

Russian president Vladimir Putin called for an international coalition aimed at eliminating terrorism in his December 2015 state-of-the-nation address, saying, “We must leave all arguments and disagreements behind and make one powerful fist, a single anti-terror front, which would work on the basis of international law under the aegis of the United Nations.”

Following today’s forum session, Lavrov stated, “We are grateful to our counterparts from the Arab countries for supporting the initiative of President Putin to form a truly universal anti-terror front,” as TASS reports.

The minister also stated that he believes the forum has proven itself effective in boosting cooperation between Russia and the Middle East and North Africa, with the Arab League as a useful platform for constructive dialogue, though it could play a more important and decisive role if Syria were to return to the league. “The fact that the Syrian government, a legitimate UN member, cannot take part in the Arab League discussions does not help our joint efforts” towards political settlement in the country, he said.

According to the diplomat, matters surrounding Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and the Middle East were discussed. Addressing the session, Lavrov urged the Arab nations to join the Russian initiative to impose an all-embracing trade and economic embargo against territories yet under control of the Islamic State, according to article 41 of the UN charter.

Lavrov thanked the Arab members of the forum for their appreciation of Russia’s stance on the Middle East question, and expressed readiness to enter into talks with the US Department of State to help the volatile situation in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and in other parts of the region.