Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Syrian Chaos Accelerates Diplomatic Initiatives

Representatives from ten countries supporting the Syrian opposition meet on Saturday 10 December in Paris. Five western countries (USA, France, Germany, UK, Italy) and five countries in the region (Jordan, Turkey, UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) will look into the Syrian conflict when celui- is experiencing a turning point.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Russian-American military and diplomats will gather in Geneva to try to "save Aleppo". For its part, the UN General Assembly asked overwhelmingly to end the bloodshed in Syria.

The meeting between western countries and those in the region had been planned for several weeks. It will take place on the background of  the civilian population in Aleppo. "We want guarantees for those who will leave the rebel sector as for those who remain," said a French diplomat.

While the Syrian regime, supported by Russia and Iran, speaks of territorial conquest , the countries supporting the rebels plead again for a political transition in Syria. "  But not to discount  ," says another French diplomat, that there is "  no question of adopting a negotiating framework that would be defined by Russia  ."

Clearly, the military advantage of the regime and its allies must not allow legitimizing the continued rule of Bashar al-Assad. Even tone regarding the idea of a future Syria reconstruction phase. In Paris, we already said that "France and the European Union will not pay for the Russians."

Finally, on Saturday in Paris, it will also issue Raqqa , self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State group. "  The battle will be long and difficult  " to retake the city, diplomats acknowledge. And that will administer Raqqa if the jihadists are chased by the coalition and its allies? One question that remains yet unanswered.

A meeting to "save Aleppo"

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Friday a meeting between the US and Russian experts on the same day in Geneva to try to "save Aleppo  ". Discussions will focus on a plan of a cease-fire, the evacuation of civilians and rebels and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

On the field, the battle of Aleppo to an end. The pro-regime forces have not stopped their bombardment, contrary to the announcement in Moscow on Thursday. 85% of the large northern city is now in their hands.

UN calls for immediate ceasefire

The UN General Assembly has requested a very large majority to end the bloodshed in Syria, 122 countries out of 193 member states have called for the establishment of an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian aid delivery. But this initiative, led by Canada, is nominal.

The General Assembly has indeed no power to compel a country legally but this initiative is a political gesture to the international community to say that it does not close its eyes to the Syrian drama, reports our correspondent in New York, Marie Executioner.

It had been weeks that the Member States working with this resolution also sign the failure of the Security Council to find a solution to the Syrian crisis. Six times, Russia has vetoed resolutions paralyzing any UN action.

But, a sign that the Syrian crisis is far from consensus, China and Venezuela are opposed to this resolution of the General Assembly while Ethiopia and Kazakhstan, which will join the Security Council in January as members non-permanent, abstained.

More broadly, this diplomatic initiative comes at the wrong of what is played on the field while diplomats admit hinting almost military victory of Damascus and Aleppo Moscow. And symbolic actions, Syrian civilians no longer have anything to do.

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