Assad: De-escalation Zones Real Chance for Reconciliation

Marsha Scott
May 14, 2017

The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said on Thursday that next week's UN-facilitated talks in Geneva will benefit from the dynamics of the negotiations which began in Astana, Kazakhstan, earlier this month, which saw an agreement between Russia, Iran and Turkey on "de-escalation zones" in war-torn Syria.

"We had a very, very good meeting with Mr. Lavrov", Trump told reporters after the talks.

The meeting with Sergei Lavrov was the highest-level public contact between Trump and the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin since Trump took office on January 20. "You're kidding. You're kidding". "The president further emphasised his desire to build a better relationship between the USA and Russian Federation", the White House said.

It came a week after Iran, Russia and Turkey signed an agreement, urging setting up of four de-escalation zones in the war-torn Syria in the latest attempt to reduce violence in the country.

Over the past six years, the United States and Russian Federation have sparred several times over the Syrian conflict, especially concerning Assad's fate, but have failed to manage a solution to end it.

The primary objective of de-escalation is supposed to be to allow humanitarian aid to flow through to civilians.

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Washington has given the deal a skeptical welcome, citing concerns about Tehran's role as a guarantor even as it expressed hope the agreement could set the stage for a later settlement. "We will continue to work".

Donald Trump's White House takeover has not brought the former Cold War adversaries closer to seeing eye to eye - and in early April the U.S. even launched direct military action against the Syrian regime in retaliation for a chemical attack for which it was blamed.

The declaration contradicts Russian Federation, the main ally of Assad and principal author of the recently reached agreement, which had asserted there would be outside monitors.

Trump "also raised the possibility of broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere", the readout said.

The State Department added: "Sanctions on Russian Federation will remain in place until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them".

It brings together the eight countries bordering the Arctic Ocean - Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the US.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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