Now that the UNSC has voted for a Syria peace plan, in a statement made by Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov said it will be “possible” to establish a transitional unity government in Syria within six months, and to hold national elections within 18 months. Secretary Kerry told reporters that talks between the Syrian government and opposition are likely to begin in mid to late January.
Secretary Kerry also stressed the progress of what has been accomplished by the UNSC on Friday, noting that “for the first time since this war started” the UN was able to successfully introduced a road map to try to bring about “a peaceful resolution through a political process.”
Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov told press, “The most important success is that Vienna documents have been implemented into international law with this resolution. We had very frank discussions about how to move forward with a view of implementing the agreements that were reached.” [ 01 ]
In terms of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s fate, Lavrov noted that Russia cannot support any approach that would allow one country to decide the future of another. (Did Lavrov just make a Russian joke of irony?)
Minister Lavrov added, “Russia regrets that the mission of uniting forces in the battle against terrorism is being held “hostage” over a decision concerning one man’s fate.
“We often hear this kind of logic – that without solving the Assad question it is impossible to carry out a coordinated fight against terrorism. This is very dangerous logic, a dangerous approach.” [ 02 ]
Secretary Kerry was amendment as he stated, “Countries must stop funding terrorist groups in Syria.”
“Under the ceasefire called for by the UNSC resolution, countries are expected to stop funding terrorist groups operating in Syria,” said Kerry.
However Russian Minister Lavrov stressed that the list of terrorist groups is “very contradictory” at this stage, as some countries have conflicting views on whether to define certain militants as terrorists,
According to Secretary Kerry, further criteria to designate groups as “terrorist” will be determined at a later stage of the discussions on Syria.
Not surprisingly, Russian foreign minister Lavrov said that one such criterion should be checking if the group in question had shelled, or carried out bombings in the residential areas of Damascus, or attacked the Russian embassy there. He continued by stating that the border between Syria and Turkey should be closed in order to limit outside support reaching terrorist groups inside Syria. [ 03 ]
“Now that we have a UN resolution, now that we have a process moving, that door is much more open and much more important for us to consider ways in which there could be greater cooperation. And as we get into the negotiation itself, it would be counterproductive not to be trying to grow cooperation with respect to the fight against Daesh,” said Secretary Kerry.
In response, Lavrov said of Russia’s proposal to the United States, “I can confirm that regarding the coordination of strikes, our proposal to do that has remained on the table for two-and-a-half months.”
Apparently the US has not jumped on that offer.
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