Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have spoken about the difficulty of drafting a Syria peace plan. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin.)
This isn’t exactly a news bulletin, but the United States and Russia need to strike a deal on Syria, and fast. Various analysts, and Secretary of State John Kerry, say that’ll be hard, but them’s the breaks. No one said diplomacy was going to be easy.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had agreed to look for ways to revive a Syrian peace plan, but admitted that doing so would be extremely difficult.
We are both going to go back, we are going to explore those possibilities, and we are going to talk again about if any of those other avenues could conceivably be pursued. … I don’t think there’s a difference of opinion that [President Bashar al-Assad’s] leaving may either be inevitable or necessary to be able to have a solution.
Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, was noncommittal over the idea of Assad leaving power. But Lavrov did say, according to CNN, that he’s concerned the Western powers are hyping the threat of weapons of mass destruction (i.e., gas) in Syria:
The NATO ministers also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who warned that reports of chemical weapons in Syria must be carefully investigated to avoid a repetition of the “Iraqi scenario” in which unconfirmed allegations that the regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction were the basis for the US-led invasion.
He accused Western nations of trying to “politicize the issue” and broadening the investigation. Experts were supposed to be sent to Syria to study the possible use of chemical weapons in Aleppo; instead, Lavrov said, investigators demanded access to all facilities in Syria and the right to interview all Syrian citizens.
“I believe that is too much,” he said.
Indeed, it’s too much. The prime movers behind charges that Assad is using chemical weapons is Israel’s notoriously provocative intelligence service, which yesterday revealed that it has concluded that Assad’s forces are using poison gas. “To the best of our professional understanding, the regime used lethal chemical weapons against gunmen in a series of incidents in recent months,” said the head of Israel’s army intelligence. But, as The Washington Post reports, the Obama administration isn’t buying it, at least not yet: