Sarkozy warns West against isolating Russia

Moscow, Oct 29 (IANS) Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday urged Western countries to stop isolating Russia and seek rapprochement and dialogue instead.

“We should in no way accept a new cold war, as this will be a defeat both for you and us. There is no sense in isolating Russia; I strongly believe in this,” the TASS news agency quoted Sarkozy as saying in an address at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).

Sarkozy proposed that Moscow’s efforts should be united with those of the US-led international coalition operating in the war-torn country against the Islamic State (IS) terrorists.

“The only way to reach a political solution is through an international coalition involving Russia, which plays an essential role in the country,” said Sarkozy, who is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin later on Thursday.

International talks on Syria are set to take place in Vienna, the capital of Austria, on Thursday and Friday involving Russia, the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey and to be joined by Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon and the European Union.

The Vienna meeting was just the first step. The IS is “our common enemy” and destroying the group is “a priority for all,” Sarkozy said.

He added that the ousting of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should not be a prerequisite, while noting that it is necessary to support the Syrian opposition, as the conflict could not be solved without the participation of Syrians themselves.

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