Russia, United States Upset British Gameboard; Reach Agreement for Syrian Ceasefire
Feb. 23, 2016 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced in the evening of Feb. 22, that an agreement had been reached on conditions for a ceasefire in Syria between all but the jihadi terrorists. All parties involved in the conflict, outside those terrorists, have until Feb. 26 at noon, to indicate their willingness to participate, with the ceasefire then to go into operation the following day. Taskforces have been set up to work out details.
The address given by President Vladimir Putin to the Russian people on the agreement on Monday night, following a conversation with President Obama which he initiated, best summarizes the terms reached and commitments made. Putin made clear this was no "quick fix," but rather grew out of much work, including making "use of the positive experience we accumulated over the course of cooperation in eliminating chemical weapons in Syria."
Enforcement of the ceasefire between the groups who agree to participate is to proceed thusly:
"Russian and American troops will jointly delineate the territories where these groups are active. No military action will be taken against them by the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, Russian Armed Forces and the US-led coalition. In turn, the opposition will cease all military action against the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic and other groups supporting them,"
Strikes against ISIS, Al-Nusra and other UNSC-designated terrorist groups will continue.
A communication hotline and, if necessary, a working group to exchange information, will be set up.
"Russia will conduct the necessary work with Damascus and the legitimate Syrian leadership. We expect that the United States will do the same with regard to their allies and the groups they support,"
said Putin. These actions
"will be enough to radically reverse the crisis situation in Syria. We are finally seeing a real chance to bring an end to the long-standing bloodshed and violence."
"Russian-American agreements on the cessation of hostilities in Syria, and their joint implementation in coordination with all nations participating in the International Syria Support Group, can become an example of responsible actions the global community takes against the threat of terrorism, which are based on international law and UN principles,"
he concluded. A far cry from the disasters in Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Yemen which resulted from "one-sided actions not sanctioned by the UN."
Less than 24 hours later, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenko reported that Russia had provided the U.S. the contacts for the hotline, and had set up a "coordination center" at its airbase near Latakia, Syria, tasked to monitor compliance with the ceasefire, facilitate contacts between the Syrian government and opposition, and provide humanitarian aid.
Syrian President Bashir Assad announced that parliamentary elections will be held on April 13, and Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told Lebanese television channel Al Mayadeen that "Damascus has agreed to stop military operations" against all but the terrorists.
In a joint press conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi this afternoon, Secretary Kerry reported that he hoped to hear soon that the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), then meeting, also accepted the ceasefire. All parties involved, Syrian government and opposition, and other countries, must make the commitment to implement the agreement, he said—singling out no party in particular (unlike the British).
Reflecting the global effects and efforts which went into this accord —which now must be made to stick over British imperial sabotage— Kerry cited the Chinese role in creating conditions for this ceasefire. Kerry pointed out that Foreign Minister Wang had flown the longest and the farthest of any Foreign Minister, to participate in the international discussions on an end to the Syrian conflict held in Munich.