TSI Quick Reaction Summary of US-Russia Agreement
Announced 09 September 2016 following negotiations between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva.
Today Secretary of State John Kerry and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced a major development in their efforts to restore calm in Syria and bring the warring parties back to the negotiating table. After a full day of talks, Lavrov and Kerry held a joint press conference to announce that the US and Russia had reached an agreement that they tentatively hope may be a turning point in the bloody Syrian war.
|The main points of the agreement:
- While Lavrov mentioned that they agreed on procedures on responding to any breaches or violations of the COH, no details were given. The lack of enforcement or compliance measures in previous agreements has been a key contributor to their failure.
- Kerry reiterated several times that the agreement is not based on trust, it all hinges on oversight, compliance, and mutual interest. “Plans do not implement themselves,“ he said, alluding to years of agreements on paper that have failed to materialize on the ground.
- Both Kerry and Lavrov made a point to say that this agreement should not be interpreted as the US conceding to Russia. The reason is that up until several months ago the US clearly and repeatedly ruled out military cooperation with Russia in Syria, calling the Russian strategy “tragically flawed,” since it aimed primarily to prop of the Assad regime instead defeating ISIS as Russia claimed.
- Russia said that it has already discussed the deal with the Government of Syria and received its approval. Russia will be responsible for ensuring the regime’s cooperation.
- Kerry said that opposition forces must physically distance themselves from Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS in order for the agreement to work. He did not give any indication whether any political or military opposition groups had been consulted on this agreement.
- The actual agreement consists of a 5-page document with details on US-Russia coordination procedures, increasing aid and trade protocols, compliance measures, etc.
Update: You can read the full transcript of the Kerry-Lavrov press conference HERE.