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USA / Russia : diplomatic breakdown over Syria

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USA / Russia : diplomatic breakdown over Syria


Just a few weeks ago, the world focused on US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov. With two months until the end of Obama’s Presidency, the United States engaged in a diplomatic battle. After drawn-out negotiations they reached an agreement with Russia on 10th September and with it came hope.

John Kerry announced: ‘‘Today the United States and Russia are announcing a plan which (…) if implemented, if followed, has the ability to provide a turning point, a moment of change.’‘

A fragile truce

The truce came into force on 12th September. Aleppo had a few days of relative calm. But from the outset it was clear that the future of the truce would play out there. Neither the rebels nor the regime wanted to make concessions.

Despite several violations, from the US and Russia alike, the cease-fire lasted until 19th September when Damascus announced its end.A few hours later as diplomats scrambled to extend it, a UN and Red Cross humanitarian convoy in West Aleppo was hit by an air strike.

The truce was supposed to enable the delivery of aid to beseiged areas in desperate need. The airstrike ended any hopes of that. Other convoys were blocked at the Syrian border, and despite numerous attempts, the truce was not restored.

Hospitals bombed

Since then, bombs have rained down on Aleppo.
The latest struck a large hospital in the city prompting Washington to change tack with Moscow. While the UN, and France in particular endeavor to revive diplomatic efforts, dialogue between the US and Russia is falling on mutually deaf ears.

Pass the blame

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said: “Unfortunately from the very beginning there were many who wished to break down the agreements, including from within the U.S. administration. And as you know, yesterday to our deep regret those who were against political settlement of Syrian crisis, against the fulfilment of the relevant U.N. resolutions and have clear plans for solving the situation by force – succeeded.”

John Kerry announced: “the Syrian regime and Russia seemed to have rejected diplomacy in furtherance of trying to pursue a military victory over the broken bodies, bombed-out hospitals and traumatised children of a long-suffering land. People who are serious about making peace behave differently from the way Russia has chosen to behave.”

According to The World Health Organisation, 342 people including 106 children were killed in eastern Aleppo over the last 12 days.Without the restoration of diplomacy, a solution for the Syrian people is nowhere in sight.

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