Pentagon officials met with their Russian counterparts via video conference Thursday to discuss the continued adherence to the agreement regarding flight safety over Syria, according to a statement by Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook. “The conversation was constructive, and the two sides reiterated the need to adhere to the memorandum of understanding to avoid accidents and misunderstandings,” according to the release. The high-level meeting was the first since a Russian fighter jet and US aircraft unwittingly passed within a half mile of each other over Syria on Oct. 17. Following the close call, there was immediate contact between the two aircraft and then follow-up on the deconfliction channel, which remains in daily use.
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.