Why US and Russia could not Agree on Syria Deal

USA Russia

RIA Novosti

According to Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic international newspaper headquartered in London, French diplomats believe that the US and Russia have so far failed to reach an agreement on the settlement of the situation in Syria because of Washington unwillingness to allow President Vladimir Putin to come out as a winner according to the results, and Russia – to strengthen its positions in the international arena.

The meeting of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry in China on Monday ended without agreement on Syria deal. This fact is “not a surprise”, said the French diplomatic sources the newspaper. According to them, the parties cannot reach an agreement, as the administration of US and President Barack Obama himself does not want Putin to emerge from this situation as the “winner” in the political, diplomatic and military terms. “This will serve as a sign of the return of Russian influence in the international arena, as well as increasing its credibility as a global power leader,” – the newspaper writes.

Paris also believes that Washington is seeking to conclude an agreement as soon as possible to speed up the destruction of ISYS in Syria and Iraq, understanding the “weakness” of their position. At the same time, Washington is not willing to enter into an agreement, because it is difficult to implement it in practice and does not contain a warranty. Such an agreement would be considered a “failure” in Obama’s diplomatic and political terms, the sources noted.

French diplomats also noted that, most likely, the differences between Lavrov and Kerry “are in a few details.” Thus, Paris draws attention to a letter written by Michael Ratney, U.S. Special Envoy for Syria, to factions of the Syrian opposition. The letter contains mainly the technical aspects of the transaction between the Russian Federation and the United States on Syria, as the political details are given in a small fragment.

French diplomats also believe that in Moscow there is no solid, unified position on the settlement in Syria, and there are two approaches to the situation. The first means use of the “weakness” of Washington to reach a deal, in the best interests of the Russian Federation, before the departure of Obama and the inauguration of the new president who probably will be less willing to make concessions. Proponents of the second approach believe that the agreement should be signed with the new administration in exchange for concessions. Cessions will cover the sanctions regime, the NATO exercises near the Russian borders or the situation in Ukraine, diplomats say.

Earlier in September, Lavrov said that during 2016 he and Kerry have had over forty phone conversations, calling such a number unprecedented. Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama on Monday instructed the foreign ministers to meet in order to continue work on the agreement on Syria. The meeting of Lavrov and Kerry to be held this week.

In Syria, the ongoing armed conflict has killed more than 220,000 people since March 2011. Government forces confront militias belonging to various armed groups. The most active are terrorist groups “Islamic State” and “Dzhebhat en-Nusra” (changed name to “Dzhebhat Fatah al-Sham” recently).

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Leon Lunsky

Retired marketing professional consulting on effective Business Development, Sales & Marketing and Customer Relationship Management. Extensive 30-year engineering and entrepreneurial experience in Latvia and Russia, and over 20 years of broad engineering and marketing involvement with an international engineering corporation in USA.

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