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Washington, Moscow discuss terrorism issues

Washington, Moscow discuss terrorism issuesThe attack in the French city of Nice showed the need to speed up international efforts to tackle terrorism, especially in Syria, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned today in Moscow.

Kerry also focused on the conflict in Syria earlier on Thursday, while talking with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said their talks had been productive, as well as "extremely frank and very serious." The meeting was about boosting military and intelligence cooperation against Islamic State and al Qaeda in Syria.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post published a leaked draft of the new Syrian plan Kerry is said to be offering to Putin, which includes “integrated operations” between the two countries, with a command center to be stationed in Amman, Jordan. Kerry's proposal would create a new center where U.S. and Russian militaries would share intelligence and coordinate air strikes against Islamic State and the Nusra Front, an al Qaeda affiliate. The move has angered U.S. military and intelligence officers and diplomats who argue that Russia has proved repeatedly that it cannot be trusted.

But the Kremlin said on Friday that Kerry had not directly discussed military cooperation between Moscow and Washington in Syria - the subject of a proposal that Kerry had brought with him to the Russian capital.

The White House and Pentagon offered lukewarm support for the plan and demanded that Moscow show it was serious about fighting Islamic State, not just propping up President Bashar al-Assad, State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Moscow.

"Secretary Kerry emphasized that absent concrete, near-term steps, diplomatic efforts could not continue indefinitely," Kirby said.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Defense Secretary Ash Carter supported Kerry's efforts to encourage Moscow to "do the right thing" in Syria. But he added that Carter has experience dealing with Moscow and maintains a "healthy dose of skepticism" about Russia's aims in the conflict.
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