Lead­ers press for end to con­flict

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

World and re­gional pow­ers have agreed to try and turn Syria’s shaky pause in fight­ing into a com­pre­hen­sive cease­fire as a step to­ward end­ing the five-year war that left hun­dreds of thou­sands dead and fu­elled the rise of Is­lamic ex­trem­ists.

Out­lin­ing other re­sults, US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry said par­tic­i­pants set a June 1 dead­line for the re­sump­tion of hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to ar­eas cut off from the out­side world.

If land routes re­main blocked, food aid will be air dropped and in­ter­na­tional pres­sure will be in­creased on those block­ing such re­lief, he said. Such pres­sure will also be ap­plied to stop in­dis­crim­i­nate use of force by the Syr­ian mil­i­tary, Kerry added, with­out spec­i­fy­ing what pres­sure the pow­ers could apply.

But be­yond such pledges the meet­ing did not de­vise any con­crete ways to re­solve the main prob­lem stand­ing in the way of peace - fac­tional di­vi­sions. With­out that, progress in end­ing the vi­o­lence and re­duc­ing Syria’s hu­man mis­ery can only be mar­ginal and tem­po­rary.

Kerry said as much to re­porters, declar­ing that to end the con­flict “a va­ri­ety of com­pet­ing in­ter­ests are go­ing to have to be rec­on­ciled.” “Those in­volved in this con­flict with com­pet­ing agen­das are go­ing to have to pri­ori­tise peace,” he said.

One key di­vi­sion con­tin­ues to be the fate of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar Al As­sad. Go­ing into the talks, Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter FrankWal­ter Stein­meier re­peated the po­si­tion held by the West and the Saudi-backed op­po­si­tion that a peace agree­ment should out­line steps lead­ing to the end of his rule.

"This is nec­es­sary be­cause there can be no last­ing fu­ture for this coun­try with As­sad," he said. “This is why we must start ne­go­ti­a­tions here in Vienna ... about what a tran­si­tion gov­ern­ment could look like."

Kerry said that “with­out a ne­go­ti­ated so­lu­tion, As­sad and his sup­port­ers will never end the war.”

And he ques­tioned sug­ges­tions that As­sad was im­mune from in­ter­na­tional pres­sure.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.