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U.S., Russian Defense Officials Discuss Flight Safety Over Syria

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2016 — Defense Department officials today held a video conference to discuss ongoing implementation of the U.S.-Russia memorandum of understanding on flight safety over Syrian airspace, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.

The call was co-chaired by Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Elissa Slotkin and Joint Staff Director for Strategic Plans and Policy Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. and their Russian Ministry of Defense counterparts

“The two sides discussed measures to enhance operational safety for counter-ISIL coalition and Russian military forces operating in Syria, including the means to avoid accidents and unintended confrontation between coalition and Russian forces whenever the two sides operate in close proximity,” Cook said.

Today's discussions follow video conferences between the DoD and the Russian Ministry of Defense in October 2015 to discuss the safety of coalition air operations in Syria, he said.

“The conversation was constructive and the two sides agreed to continue safety discussions in this format in the future,” Cook noted.