Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Moscow Pinning its Hopes on Lausanne Meeting as U.S. Seeks 'Multilateral' Approach - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Moscow, Washington – An international meeting on the ministerial level will be held in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Saturday as part of fresh attempts to overcome previous failures in reaching an agreement over war-torn Syria.

While reports said Iran will not attend the meeting, well-informed Russian sources said that Tehran had its “own game in Syria”, which might represent the main obstacle to any agreement reached over the weekend.

The Kremlin expressed hope that the international meeting would be crowned by success, while the Russian foreign affairs ministry said the gathering would represent a suitable foundation for the resumption of the Syrian political process.

It is expected for the meeting in Lausanne to be attended by Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, as well as U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Reinstating the ceasefire will be the main topic of the upcoming international negotiations, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in her weekly press briefing.

“The main topic will be the discussion of prospects of Syrian settlement with an emphasis on the necessity to renew the ceasefire regime on the basis of the agreements reached by Russia and the United States on September 9 in Geneva,” Zakharova said.

She added that all sides have to take on certain obligations and work with the sides on the ground to ensure full adherence to the terms of the ceasefire.

“Real premises for renewal of the political process in the Syrian settlement will be created should [the talks] be successful,” the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said on Thursday that the Kremlin hopes for a positive outcome from the meeting on Syria.

“We would like the Saturday meeting to yield some concrete positive results,” Ushakov said, adding that the meeting “gives a chance to talk about the Russian-U.S. interaction.”

While all efforts are targeted at reviving political talks over Syria, reports from Moscow warned of the negative role that could be played by Iran to hamper the Lausanne meeting’ outcome.

Kommersant Russian daily quoted sources as saying that Iran was still rejecting peace negotiations over Syria, adding that the Persian State had its “own game” in the war-torn country.

On a different note, U.S. President Barack Obama and his top foreign policy advisers are expected to meet on Friday to consider their military and other options in Syria as Syrian and Russian aircraft continue to pummel Aleppo and other targets, U.S. officials were quoted by Reuters as saying.

Some top officials argue the United States must act more forcefully in Syria or risk losing what influence it still has over moderate rebels and its Arab, Kurdish and Turkish allies in the fight against ISIS, the officials told Reuters.

One set of options includes direct U.S. military action such as air strikes on Syrian military bases, munitions depots or radar and anti-aircraft bases, said one official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.