Is Russia Ready to Lean on Bashar Al-Assad?


During an interview With Michele Kelemen of NPR at Geneva in Switzerland, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed the issue on the endorsement of Kofi Annan’s transitional plan for Syria.

During the interview, Ms. Clinton says the international community couldn’t get started to end the Syrian crisi until the United States and its will have an agreement of the most interested parties, which of course included Russia and China.

“We now have such an agreement, and we’re fully behind Kofi Annan’s effort.” -Ms. Clinton

Ms. Clinton highlighted that during her talk with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in St. Petersburg, she stresses that Russians are really ready to lean on Bashar al-Assad?.

“They have told me that. They have made clear they have no continuing strategic interest in Assad remaining in power.” -Ms. Clinton

Syrian president Bashar alAssad (left) with Brazilian then-president Lula da Silva (right), 2010.

She notes she has every reason to believe both on what she was told by Minister Lavrov yesterday that the Russians will make the case that there needs to be this transition.

She adds that there are so many terrible things about this violence that has gone on for so long: the fact of the violence, the loss of life, the destruction, the government abusing and killing its own people.

She stresses that it became very clear that everyone, including Russia and China, is worried about the violence spreading.”

“So the motivation and the focus today was very clear to me. Now we just have to work to see what we can do with it.” -Ms. Clinton

Yesterday, reaffirming its strongest support to Kofi Annan’s political transition plan for Syria, the United States of America underlined that the plan has delivered a strong language in Geneva despite the unhelpful response from China and Russia.

During an interview with Indira Lakshmanan of Bloomberg, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the plan pledged to support a transitional governing body whose members can only be put on that body by mutual consent.

Ms. Clinton sid if there are strong support to the plan, Mr. Annan can now go to the Assad regime and say they have to start talking about a transition and not be met with well.

However, they don’t have to do that, because Russia and China don’t agree with the United States, Ms. Clinton stressed.

With regards to the United States publicly criticizing Russia for selling arms to the Syrian regime, Ms. Clinton stresses that the United States believes that ending the arming of the Assad government is the first order of business.

She notes that the Russians continue to claim that they are not providing anything that can be used to suppress internal dissent.

However, the US government begs to differ, she added.

Last week, amid the turmoil engulfing Syria, speculations began to surface that ties are strained as US and Russia disagee over the path forward to end crisis in Syria.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said the United States highly value a positive relationship with Russia.

However, she pointed out that both countries also disagree on other issues.

She stresses the US government has made it clear to the Russians that the outcome they are most concerned about, which would be a sectarian civil war, is made more likely, not less likely, by the international community’s failure to take a strong position vis-A -vis the Assad regime.

Reports say Russia is still refusing to condemn the war crimes committed by the Syrian regime.

In October, Russia and China vetoed a draft resolution that would have condemned the Assad regime. Russia is opposed to the establishment of safe no-fly zones which means that Russia is explicitly supporting the war-crimes committed by the regime.

Media reports say Sergei Lavrov the Russian Foreign Minister blamed the opposition.

Reports say that Russia is deploying naval military ships in the Mediterranean in an apparent gesture of support for the Assad’s regime.

Some analysts reportedly believe that Russia is worried about its heavy investments in Syria. Russia reportedly invested $30 billion in energy and tourism infrastructure and it has a naval base in the Syrian coastal city of Tartous. Reports say Russia fears that one day the international community might act against one of its client states in the old Soviet Union.

Earlier this week, recognizing Russia’s strategic importance to the United States, Deputy Secretary William J. Burns said U.S.-Russia relations are often an uneasy mix of competition and cooperation.

In his remarks on Russia’s WTO accession at DC, Mr. Burns stressed that the US has real and continuing differences with Russia.

Mr. Burns said he has spent a good deal of his diplomatic career helping Administrations of both parties navigate US complicated relationship with Russia.

He stressed that while it may be tempting to downplay Russia’s importance, the United States simply does not have that luxury.

He noted that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council; as one of the world’s largest nuclear powers; and as the world’s single largest producer of hydrocarbons, Russia’s strategic importance to the U.S. will matter for many years to come.

In May this year, the United States of America underlined that it’s in US interest to graduate Russia from Jackson-Vanik.

The United States’ trade relationship with Russia is tied to a provision of U.S. trade law (the Jackson-Vanik amendment) enacted in the 1970s to condition normal trade relations (NTR) status on the then-Soviet Union’s willingness to let Jews emigrate freely.

The United States asserts that Jackson-Vanik should be lifted simply unrelated to anything else because it’s in US interest, at the same time strongly supports the goals of the Cardin legislation.

President Obama has been looking of areas of common interest, try to reach practical, real substantive agreements while also being very clear that there would be things we would disagree on and we wouldn’t sweep them under the carpet as we pursued these things, Mr. Gordon added.

Both countries have accomplished numerous thing particularly the New START Treaty or cooperation on Afghanistan which has been very significant to their efforts; or the 123 Nuclear Agreement on civil nuclear cooperation; Russian support on North Korea; and, particularly Iran.

Both countries have been working very hard, in US own interest, to reach an agreement that would benefit the two countries.

The United States has been very clear about the importance of democracy, human rights, and civil society in US foreign policy.

Russia’s membership in the world’s largest rules-based trading system is said to provide tangible benefits to Russia as well as for U.S. businesses.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.