No break­through in fresh Syria talks

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TALKS in Switzer­land be­tween Wash­ing­ton, Moscow and Syria’s neigh­bours ended within hours of start­ing with no break­through on halt­ing the vi­o­lence rav­aging the coun­try.

US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry said the Lausanne meet­ing pro­duced some new ideas on re­viv­ing a cease­fire in Syria, where the regime con­tin­ues to pound rebel-held ar­eas in Aleppo.

But he said it was too early to re­veal what these ideas were, and that high-level con­tacts – but not a min­is­te­rial-level meet­ing – would con­tinue to­day to flesh them out.

Mr Kerry wel­comed the more than four hours of “very can­did, first-time dis­cus­sion ... open and free-wheel­ing ... with all of the key par­ties at the ta­ble si­mul­ta­ne­ously”.

“I would char­ac­terise this as ex­actly what we wanted,” he told re­porters at the ho­tel where he met Rus­sian, Ira­nian, Saudi, Turk­ish, Egyp­tian, Jor­da­nian, Iraqi and Qatari en­voys.

The US en­voy’s tone was up­beat, but came de­spite diplo­mats from all sides warn­ing against hopes of a rapid cease­fire.

And away from the talks, Moscow’s ac­tions showed no sign that it might be soft­en­ing its strong sup­port for Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad and his cam­paign against the USbacked rebels.

Fierce fight­ing was also con­tin­u­ing else­where in the multi-front con­flict, with Turk­ish-backed fight­ers clos­ing in on Dabiq, a sym­bolic strong­hold of the Is­lamic State group.

And in Aleppo, Mr As­sad’s Rus­sian­backed gov­ern­ment forces in­ten­si­fied their bom­bard­ment of the rebel-held east of the city, fur­ther dam­ag­ing any prospect of a re­newed cease­fire.

Mr Kerry and Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov, once joint spon­sors of in­ter­na­tional peace ef­forts, met ahead of the broader talks, but US of­fi­cials in­sisted that their “bi­lat­eral track” re­mained dead.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama has been adamant that US forces will not be­come caught up in the war and Mr Kerry was hop­ing that talks with Rus­sia and re­gional pow­ers may yield new ideas and a so­lu­tion.

The talks come as Moscow faces grow­ing crit­i­cism over its back­ing for Mr As­sad’s as­sault in di­vided Aleppo.

Air strikes hit rebel-held parts of Aleppo again on Oc­to­ber 15, ac­cord­ing to the Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights, a Bri­tish-based watch­dog with a net­work of sources on the ground.

More than 370 peo­ple, in­clud­ing nearly 70 chil­dren, have been killed in regime and Rus­sian bom­bard­ment of east­ern Aleppo since Septem­ber 22, ac­cord­ing to the Ob­ser­va­tory. –

Photo: AFP

US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry (cen­tre) speaks with Saudi Ara­bia’s For­eign Min­is­ter Adel al-Jubeir (left) and Jor­dan’s For­eign Min­is­ter Nasser Judeh (right) at the end of the peace talks in Lausanne, Switzer­land, on Oc­to­ber 15.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.