Paris – French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will participate in a Friends of Syria group meeting, which will be held on Wednesday in London.
French official sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that they were not surprised by the failure of the United States and Russia to agree on a ceasefire. The sources noted that Russia failed to convince the U.S. of its vision towards resolving the Syrian crisis.
Meanwhile, ongoing talks between Washington and Moscow to resolve the Syrian crisis have faced several obstacles despite the summit held between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and the long meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov last week.
U.S. will reject any agreement that does not offer any guarantees and that would be difficult to implement, according to the French sources. The sources added that such agreement would represent a failure to Obama’s Administration if not well implemented. Based on the considerations above, Kerry insists on reaching a balanced and viable agreement to avoid diplomatic disappointments.
The French sources also said that the other reason behind the U.S. hesitation in adopting the Russian vision lies in the fact that Obama’s Administration does not want Putin to achieve a political, diplomatic and military victory in Syria. Such victory, according to the sources, would empower Russia and restore its authority on the international level.
As for Russia, the French sources said that the optimistic rhetoric adopted by Russian officials was aimed at “dragging Washington” into an agreement sought for by Putin and Obama to defeat ISIS in Syria.
Sources from Paris had told Asharq al-Awsat last week that two streams were internally fighting in Moscow: one group was seeking to use Obama’s Administration “weakness” to forge an agreement that would preserve Russia’s interests in the region, while the other group wanted to negotiate the Russian vision with the incoming U.S. Administration.
Meanwhile, Kerry and Lavrov are expected to meet this week in another attempt to reach a ceasefire.
The meeting is highly important according to observers and will reveal the truth behind the two powers’ intention to forge an agreement on Syria despite the remaining obstacles.