Limited Options on Syria After Multilateral Talks in Lausanne

Time: 1:41 p.m. CEST Update:10:14 p.m. CEST

Secretary Kerry Meets with Key Regional Partners to Discuss Bringing About A Political Transition in Syria
Secretary Kerry Meets with Key Regional Partners to Discuss Bringing About A Political Transition in Syria (Courtesy of State Department)

The multilateral Lausanne talks in Switzerland on Syria ended without final results, but with suggestions how to decrease the violence in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry talked with diplomats of Russia and several regional powers how to set conditions for the talks. Kerry talked with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for 40 minutes, as the Wall Street Journal reports. Kerry talked with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. On Sunday, Kerry would see European diplomats on the issue of Syria.

Another attempt to end the Syrian conflict will open in Lausanne, Switzerland on Saturday. The US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with the Russian’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, representatives of the regional powers and the top diplomats of the United Nations.

The new talks will be among Kerry, Lavrov, Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. Syria envoy and diplomats of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Iran, a country that supports Syrian government will also participate in the talks by sending its foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif in Lausanne.

Regardless the format of the talks, neither party expressed optimism for the outcome and how to overcome more than five-years of civil war in Syria. With less optimism, the U.S. expects the multilateral talks will result in solving urgent needs of the people in parts of Aleppo, where the fights and bombardments continue.

“I certainly don’t want to overplay or underplay our expectations for Lausanne,” Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Friday.

After the previous last attempt did not give results and did not open the way for the military cooperation between Russia and the U.S. on Syria, neither Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has less expectations of the talks in Lausanne.

“I have no special expectations,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during press conference Friday. “We would like to work in a concrete way and to see first to what degree our partners are prepared to comply with UN Security Council resolutions.”

On Friday, President Barack Obama convene the President’s National Security Council Meeting for the updates on the fight against Islamic State group and situation in Syria. In a readout of the meeting, the White House said that, the president directed his team to continue multilateral discussions with key nations, “although the United States suspend bilateral channels with Russia in pursue of a cessation of hostilities.”

The President assumes the diplomatic solution to the issue. “This is obviously consistent with the President’s view that the situation in Syria can only be resolved diplomatically,” the White House principal deputy press secretary Eric Shultz said on October 13 in a gaggle to the White House correspondents.

Assad’s military campaign in eastern Aleppo continues in the rebel-held part of the city, and the actions are backed by Russian air power. About 400 people, including 70 children died in east Aleppo since September 22, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The organization reported for the multiple overnight air strikes. On Friday, three hospitals were his by reported Russian air strikes, as Al Jazeera reported. In the attacks, reportedly seven people died.

Save the Children and other nongovernmental organizations appealed for a ceasefire of at least 72 hours. “This will allow the sick and wounded to be evacuated, and for food and medical aid to enter the besieged area,” said a statement from one of the charities, Save the Children, as Al Jazeera reported.

About 250,000 people are under bombardment siege over the last months after Syria’s military enforced the attacks to return part of the Aleppo held by the rebels.


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