The top US and Russian diplomats Hillary Clinton and Sergey Lavrov held a surprise meeting, Thursday, in Dublin, with the United Nations’ peace envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, signaling fresh hopes of an international breakthrough to end the szrian civil war.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and United Nation Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met on the sidelines of a OSCE conference. The U.S. and Russia have agreed to support mediation among all sides in Syria’s civil war in a renewed bid to end the violence, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, quoted by Bloomberg.
Ahead of the meeting with Mr. Brahimi, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Lavrov met separately Thursday for about 25 minutes. They agreed to hear Mr. Brahimi out on a path forward, a senior US official said. The two also discussed issues ranging from Egypt to North Korea, as well as new congressional action aimed at Russian officials accused of complicity in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
The U.S. and Russia have been at an impasse over how much pressure to exert to end the fighting between Assad’s government and rebels. Although the U.S. and Russia seem to compelled to reach a compromise, Clinton did not seem too optimistic. This meeting were “an important step but just the beginning”, Clinton said today on a stop in Northern Ireland. “I don’t think anybody believes that there was some great breakthrough.” Clinton reiterated that the U.S. believes any transition to a “democratic, unified” Syria “cannot possibly include Assad.” At the same time, she added, the U.S. intends to hold “every party to the same standard” of human rights and democratic values. “This is not just a one-sided dialogue” against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, she said. Also Brahimi said after the Dublin meeting that the three hadn’t “taken any sensational decisions” while agreeing to “work together to see how we can find creative ways” to end the fighting. Brahimi has not yet proposed a specific plan to try to end the fighting, but Clinton and Lavrov did work one out in June in Geneva.
That plan, which ultimately stalled, proposed creation of a transitional government along with al-Assad leaving office. But Russia later balked at any U.N. Security Council measure that would include sanctions or military action. Clinton insisted any U.N. resolution “have teeth.” In a public statement, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said: “We agreed that all our joint actions will be based on the Geneva Communique. Discussing the current state of affairs, we decided that participants of the Action Group for Syria will be able to implement the tasks that were outlined on June 30. Russia and the United States realize that they bear special responsibility for international stability, something that was stressed by Lakhdar Brahimi. He believes that Moscow and Washington could try to contribute significantly to implementing the Geneva agreements”.
Early next week Clinton travels to Marrakesh, Morocco, for a meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People, a gathering of countries that support the political transition. Clinton said she “will explore with like-minded countries what more we can do to try to bring this conflict to an end.”