has just taken over the chair of the UN Security Council. That’s
going to make things even more interesting.
The Russian response
3 October, 2016
Moscow has accused Washington of sabotaging the Syria ceasefire deal, saying that the US will be responsible for any new terror attacks in Syria, as by taking no action against Al-Nusra terrorists it shows it is ready “to make a deal with the devil.”
Washington “has never exerted any real pressure on Jabhat Al-Nusra, done nothing for delineation to succeed and taken no action against its militants,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday, following the US decision to suspend cooperation on Syria.
Besides failing to deliver on its part of the deal, the US were hampering Moscow’s efforts to stop the terrorists, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, calling Washington’s decision a “reflection” of the Obama administration’s inability to meet the key condition for Russia-US cooperation on the Syrian peace process.
The way the situation has been unraveling in Syria in the past few weeks has made Moscow doubt what Washington’s real intentions are, according to the ministry.
“We are becoming more convinced that in a pursuit of a much desired regime change in Damascus, Washington is ready to ‘make a deal with the devil’,” the Foreign Ministry said. For the sake of ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad, the US appears to be ready to “forge an alliance with hardened terrorists, dreaming of turning back the course of history.”
While Jabhat Al-Nusra, a designated terrorist organization, has been known as an Al-Qaeda affiliate for many years, Washington “is not in a hurry to separate US-oriented anti-government forces from it,” Moscow points out. On the contrary, even though Al-Nusra has never been a part of any peace deal, Washington “covers it with the shield of opposition groups which formally confirmed their participation in the cessation of hostilities.”
Meanwhile, the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, held a news conference in New York as Russia was assuming the presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of October. Russia plans to hold about 20 meetings during its UNSC presidency, focusing on conflicts in Africa and the Middle East.
DETAILS TO FOLLOW
Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has hit out at Washington’s decision to freeze all cooperation with Russia over Syria, in the wake of a series of diplomatic setbacks.
“I don’t think there is any alternative [to the bilateral ties between Moscow and Washington],” the diplomat told Russian reporters in New York. “That they have announced this is highly regrettable.”
“There is also no alternative to trying to implement a ceasefire, and to stopping the Al-Nusra Front and ISIS while making sure that the so-called moderate opposition understands that time has come to lay down their weapons.”
Following months of negotiations and stillborn peace deals, on Monday the US said that Russia was “unwilling or unable” to ensure that the Syrian government stuck to them, and claimed that Moscow and its allies in Damascus “have chosen to pursue a military course.”
Moscow does not accept responsibility for the breakdown in cooperation, and says it has done everything to sustain the peace process, including implementing a 72-hour ceasefire late last month that should have ensured the delivery of humanitarian aid to Aleppo, the site of the most intense fighting between government forces and opposition factions.
Russia also says that the White House kept covering up for extreme Islamists, making it impossible to produce a joint plan of operations, a key part of the bilateral proposal agreed a fortnight ago.
“Why could Washington not deliver what it promised – to delineate between the terrorists [the Al-Nusra Front] and the so-called moderate opposition,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.
United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said that his organization “deeply regrets” the communication breakdown between Moscow and Washington, and promised to continue working on a diplomatic resolution to a war that has resulted in over 400,000 deaths, according to the UN’s own estimate.
"The UN will never abandon the Syrian people to a destiny of endless violent conflict," de Mistura said in a statement.
For political analyst Ammar Waqqaf, the US decision to break ties with Russia is an admission of impotence, not a strategic gambit.
“Faced with a total inability to influence what is happening on the ground. the only option left to Kerry and other US officials is to resign, and to shift the responsibility for the conflict to the next elected administration. There is nothing more they can do now,” Waqqaf told RT.