CIA director John Brennan went to Moscow earlier this month to discuss the Syria crisis with the Russian authorities, a US official says.
The spy agency’s chief was there to reiterate the United States stance on Syrian President Bashar Assad, the unnamed official was quoted as saying in a Monday report by AFP.
Brennan “reiterated the US government’s consistent support for a genuine political transition in Syria, and the need for Assad’s departure,” the official said.
The spymaster also stressed “the importance of Russia and the Assad regime following through on their agreements to implement the cessation of hostilities in Syria.”
Brennan’s visit was confirmed by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov, who said the meeting was no “secret” and irrelevant to Russia’s recent withdrawal from Syria.
“The fact that Brennan was here had not been made secret. He didn’t go to Russia’s Foreign Ministry. I know for sure that he was at the Russian Federal Security Service [FSB],” Syromolotov said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment on the visit, saying, Brennan had had “no contacts with the Kremlin.”
The Russian and American intelligence communities are in close contact to tackle the Daesh threat in the Middle East “despite the policy difference we may have in Syria and Ukraine,” Brennan said last November.
In mid-March, Russia decided to withdraw most of its troops from Syria, where they were engaged in battles against the Takfiri terrorists.