Superpowers Finally Agree on Political Solution to End Syrian Crisis
Amid the narrative that the United States of America and Russia cannot agree on a solution to the Syrian crisis, US Secretary of State Secretary Kerry disagreed with this notion.
During a press conference together with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Secretary Kerry addressed the issue by saying that US and Russia are indeed committed to resolve the conflict and to achieve a political solution that the Syrian people deserve.
“We agreed today on what we announced: that we will accelerate the effort to try to move the political process forward.” – Secretary Kerry
Next Steps for Political Transition
According to Secretary Kerry, both US and Russia agreed that the next steps in the Geneva talks is to immediately take up the details of the political transition which both nations consider the best and perhaps the only way of ending the war.
In addition, the political transition must also be under the terms of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, a roadmap for peace in Syria, and the 2012 Geneva communique combined.
“The political process should come to the agreement of the Syrians themselves – what would they like their country to be?” – Secretary Kerry
The good news is, both nations have agreed to try to begin the direct talks in Geneva between Syrian government and the opposition groups to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 2264. The direct talks will highlight the processes which would form the transitory governing structure of Syria and will eventually lead to an agreement on the new constitution. Free elections may follow which must be based on this new constitution.
To reinforce this plan for a political solution for Syria, US and Russia agreed on a target schedule for establishing a framework for a political transition and a draft constitution, both are scheduled by August.
Other Agreements on Syria
During the press conference in Moscow, Secretary Kerry also outlined important agreements between the US and Russia on the Syrian crisis. Aside from discussing the political solution to halt the Syrian crisis, both nations also agreed that they would push for expanded humanitarian access to reach all parts of Syria.
Both nations have agreed that the Assad regime and the opposition need to begin releasing detainees as well. This should be done as soon as possible to prevent loss of lives.
In addition, both nations agreed to reinforce the cessation of hostilities. Both oppositions should uphold what was agreed, including to end the use of any indiscriminate weapons use and to end attempts by parties to seize more territory.
Russia Supporting Assad?
Reports say Russia is still refusing to condemn the war crimes committed by the Syrian regime.
In October 2012, 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 was explicitly supporting the war-crimes committed by the regime.
Media reports say Sergei Lavrov the Russian Foreign Minister blamed the opposition.
Reports said that Russia was deploying naval military ships in the Mediterranean in an apparent gesture of support for Assad’s regime.
Some analysts reportedly believed that Russia was 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 said Russia fears that one day the international community might act against one of its client states in the old Soviet Union.
U.S.-Russia relations are often an uneasy mix of competition and cooperation.
The US has real and continuing differences with Russia. While it may be tempting to downplay Russia’s importance, the United States simply does not have that luxury.
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.