Europe Warns US of New ‘Russian Deception’ in Syria

Sunday, 26 May, 2019 - 08:00 -

Europe Warns US of New ‘Russian Deception’ in Syria

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Russian military jets are seen at the Hmeimim air base in Syria, June 18, 2016. (Reuters)
London - Ibrahim Hamidi
The United States wants to maintain the current contact lines between the three Syrian regions that are controlled by Russia, the and Turkey. Washington is also “comfortable” with its agreement with Moscow on the formation of a constitutional committee, returning to a political solution, and withdrawal of all foreign forces, especially Iranian ones.

But European allies are warning the US of a new “Russian deception” by giving diplomatic promises and leaving the Russian Defense Ministry to “militarize” the land.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had visited Sochi last week, accompanied by Special Envoy to Syria James Jeffrey. They informed officials in Moscow that Russia's interests can not be realized alongside a Syrian regime rejected by its own people and the international community or with an Iranian force emerging in Syria.

The US delegation also discussed common interests with Russia, a secure and stable Syria that enjoys normal relations with its neighbors and the world, without the foreign forces that did not exist there before 2011.

Jeffrey had told Congress that Russia should join efforts to counter Iran's destabilizing activities and its malicious influence in Syria if it wants to achieve a similar result.

The US delegation in Moscow was keen on a “pragmatic approach" and left with a sense of Russia’s readiness to achieve US goals in principle, meaning the political process under UN Security Council Resolution 2254 to agree on a constitutional committee, holding UN-sponsored elections and encouraging the return of refugees and displaced persons.

The understanding should also lead to a ceasefire in Idlib, the stabilization of the conflict lines, provision of humanitarian aid, cessation of the flow of refugees to Turkey and the formation of a UN-led constitutional committee.

Meanwhile, European sources warned against being optimistic about the deal struck between Washington and Moscow. They cited previous experiences where the Russians agreed with Americans on certain issues, which remained unfulfilled because the Russian Defense Ministry holds final sway over developments on the ground in Syria.

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