Global Independent Analytics

Kerry in Moscow calls for unity following Brussels attacks

John Kerry called for unity between Russia and the US to help end the conflict in Syria, saying this week’s terrorist attacks in Brussels have “underscored the urgency” of defeating the Islamic State

Andrew Roch for The Washington Post reports: in brief remarks at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s guesthouse in downtown Moscow, Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised a recent cease-fire agreement in Syria that seeks to jumpstart U.N.-brokered peace efforts in Geneva.

After meeting with Lavrov, Kerry will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to try to estimate Moscow’s readiness for political intervention in Syria to remove its President from power.

In 2015 Russian military airstrikes helped to overturn the five-year-old civil war in Syria, reinforcing President Assad against the armed opposition. The forces were withdrawn shortly after the goal has been achieved by about half last week, and Putin has affirmed that Assad should stay in place since he can continue fighting terrorism in Syria. Putin added that the armed forces might be rebuilt in Syria fully in hours if needed.

Kerry stated that the talks in Moscow were a chance to "prove that two powerful nations that have been able to find cooperation in the past few years despite differences have the ability in the face of those differences to do what is necessary to meet the challenge." He remarked that a recent agreement to cease fire achieved in Geneva, has led to a significant reduction in violence in the Syrian war; the reduction was approximately as high as 90%.

Roch continues: “Lavrov, 66, echoed Kerry’s statements, saying that cooperation between Moscow and Washington had “achieved success because we were working on the basis of equality.” He also said that the talks on Thursday would address the crisis in southeast Ukraine, which has seen a considerable reduction in violence but little progress toward a political solution since peace accords were signed in Minsk more than a year ago.”

Although Russia still is under the pressure of economic sanctions that Washington imposed following the annexation of Crimea, lately the contacts between two world leaders are gradually reinvigorating thanks to Russia’s intervention in Syria and among growing terrorist threats in Europe.

“Moscow wants those talks to be closer, which it says is necessary to fight international terrorism, but will also prove that Russia has escaped international isolation over the Ukraine conflict,” assumes Roch. However, Moscow threatened to begin using force to enforce the cease-fire in Syria in case U.S. fails to contribute its mite to intensify the cease-fire. A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Syria and Iraq answered then that the problems "have been discussed at length already, and continue to be discussed, in a constructive manner."

Another point on Kerry’s agenda is to urge Putin to release Lt. Nadiya Savchenko, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison for killing two Russian journalists in Ukraine in 2014. “Savchenko's case has become a cause celebre in Kiev, where she was elected to parliament and conferred the title of Hero of Ukraine while waiting for trial in custody in Russia. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the conviction a "show trial." Ukrainian officials said they were ready to trade several alleged Russian servicemen arrested in southeast Ukraine in exchange for Savchenko's freedom,” concludes Roth.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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