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U.S., Russian Defense Officials Continue Dialogue on Syrian Airspace

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2016 — Defense Department officials today participated in a third video conference with their Russian counterparts to discuss the safety of flight in Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.

“This was the latest session of our dialogue with the Russian Ministry of Defense under the Memorandum of Understanding for the safety of flight in Syria to ensure that each side continues to adhere to agreed-upon measures to mitigate incidents in the air over Syria,” Cook said in a statement.

The meeting was co-chaired by Elissa Slotkin, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., director of strategic plans and policy on the Joint Staff, with Russian Defense Ministry counterparts.

Recent Concerns

“Department officials discussed recent concerns over the safety of operations since the two sides last met, including the need to enhance current measures to avoid incidents,” the press secretary said. “The two sides reiterated the need to adhere to the Memorandum of Understanding to avoid accidents and misunderstandings in the airspace over Syria.”

This video conference was separate from other discussions regarding the cessation of hostilities in Syria, yesterday's United Nations Security Council session to discuss the attacks on humanitarian aid convoys, and today's scheduled meeting of the International Syria Support Group, Cook said.