Another US Attempt at a Syria Deal

Another US Attempt at a Syria Deal

US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva today. He is going to meet with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov. It is going to be the third time in two weeks that Kerry meets with his Russian counterpart.

The United States have been working on a deal with Russia for a ceasefire in Syria. Russia’s support would be very important to securing a break in the hostilities in the region.

But patience is wearing thin on the American side as Russia seems unwilling to see negotiations move forward.

Running Out of Patience

John Kerry and his team are in Geneva and are willing to work to try to get a deal. But officials warned that if this round of talks isn’t productive, the US side is prepared to abandon the effort.

The two sides last talked about the deal very recently. Specifically, at the G20 summit in China. There was even a high level talk between Obama and Putin on the sidelines of the summit. But the talks between the two diplomatic teams did not yield a result.

If the same thing is going to happen this time as well, the American side is ready to give up on the deal.

“We are going to try but our patience is not infinite,” said a senior administration official who is traveling with Kerry to Geneva. He added that the diplomatic team is not going to keep going if the talks don’t reach a conclusion soon enough. There needs to be momentum towards reaching a deal if there is to be any deal at all.

The Syria Deal

The US and Russia are, based on both parties’ statements, working on a ceasefire deal for Syria. The ceasefire would be between the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and moderate rebels. The deal would allow for humanitarian aid to reach hundreds of thousands of Syrians. People that have been caught in the crossfire and are in desperate need of help.

Since the Secretary of State returned from China this Monday night, there has been a back and forth between Washington and Moscow. Trying to narrow differences that are standing in the way of a ceasefire. There are divergent points of view regarding Aleppo. About access in and out of that city. And about Al-Nusra militants that the Russian side perceives as extremists.

No official statement was released about these talks.

Senior administration officials did brief reporters about the status of the negotiations on the plane. They used cautious language saying that they did succeed in narrowing some gaps. But that others still remain.

“Today we got to the point where we thought it would be useful for them to sit down again” one senior official told the press.

But the optimism on the plane was of a cautious kind. Expectations that Friday’s talks would resolve all the issues between the two sides are unrealistic. Even with a positive outcome it would take another meeting to get the deal.

However, The United States are intent on trying for a deal with Russia. And remain committed to the process.


Image source: here.