Despite accusations and ill-feelings by politicians, U.S. and Russia Continue Syrian Security Talks

U.S. Department of Defense officials held a special video conference with members of Russia’s Defense Ministry, according to a Pentagon spokesman on Friday. Nothing during the session was discussed about the current accusations and political rhetoric associated with the alleged collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The long-distance conference was co-chaired by Ken Handelman, acting as the assistant secretary of defense for International Security Affairs, and Navy Rear Adm. Michael J. Dumont, the Joint Staff’s deputy director for strategic initiatives, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis in a statement.

Russian military leaders this week had a teleconference to discuss mutual operations in Syria.
Russian military leaders this week had a teleconference with their American counterparts to discuss mutual operations in Syria.

“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 prevent incidents in Syria,” said Capt. Davis.

U.S. and Russian officials discussed the safety of Syrian operations since the last meeting between the two countries, he noted.  “Each side reiterated the utility of adhering to the memorandum of understanding to avoid accidents and misunderstandings in Syria,” he noted.

Ken Handelman is performing the duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. He is the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Defense on security strategy and policy issues related to the nations and international organizations of Europe (including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere.

The last session of the department’s dialogue with the Russian Ministry of Defense, under the memorandum of understanding for the safety of flight in Syria,  was during the Obama administration on Nov. 3, 2016, just days before Donald Trump was elected as Commander in Chief.

Edited by Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, a columnist, and a contributor to the nationally syndicated talk-radio program, the Chuck Wilder Show.. He's former chief of police at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.

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