Sochi Peace Conference Off to a Bad Start
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
It’s being held Monday and Tuesday, over 1,500 delegates participating, around 1,300 from Syria, including pro-and-anti-Assad elements.
US/Saudi-backed High Negotiation Committee members aren’t coming. They want endless war and regime change, not diplomatic conflict resolution.
Syrian Kurds are boycotting the conference. “We said before that if the situation remained the same in Afrin, we could not attend Sochi,” Kurdish official Fawza al-Yussef said, adding: Afrin “contradicts the principle of political dialogue.”
Syria’s UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari heads his country’s delegation. At a UN meeting in Vienna on his country ahead of Sochi talks, he called a joint US, UK, French, Saudi, Jordanian proposal “totally unacceptable,” saying:
“Our people have not and will never accept a solution that is parachuted onto them or that is carried on tanks,” adding:
“The goal of the conference in Sochi is to engage in a national intra-Syrian dialogue without foreign interference. The conference…will reflect the (wishes of) various components of Syrian society.”
A Syrian Foreign Ministry delegation led by Farouk Arnous is scheduled to participate.
Pro-Western UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura is coming. It’s unclear if UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will attend.
Russia’s delegation will be led by special presidential envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev. Sergey Lavrov is expected to be involved. He’s the key architect of his country’s agenda for Syria, a true peace champion.
Washington was invited to attend as an observer, no word on if it’s coming as of Sunday.
Netanyahu is in Moscow on Monday meeting with Putin. According to the Kremlin, they intend discussing “Russian-Israeli cooperation in trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian areas as well as some pressing international and regional issues, including the situation in the Middle East and in Syria.”
Clearly Syria is the main issue. Both leaders met several times before discussing it.
Putin earlier rejected Netanyahu’s request to keep Iranian forces, aiding Assad combat US/Israeli supported terrorists, from operating within 60 km (37 miles) of the border with Israel.
Netanyahu and neocons controlling Trump’s agenda want endless war and regime change, Putin’s agenda polar opposite.
Under these conditions, peace remains unattainable. Washington, Israel and their rogue allies want things this way, peace and stability anathema to their agenda.
Sochi is unlikely to accomplish much. Over five years of Geneva and Astana talks failed to halt fighting. It’s wishful thinking to imagine two days of talks in the Black Sea resort town can turn things around.
DEBKAfile (DF) is connected to Israeli military intelligence. It presented an implausible outcome from Sochi.
It lied claiming elements boycotting the conference (the High Negotiations Committee and Kurds) are “pro-Assad and pro-Iranian” – just the opposite.
Results from Sochi won’t be known until talks end, not in advance. DF’s scenario sounds like a wish list, not reality, including the following:
• early presidential and parliamentary elections;
• Sunnis winning a parliamentary majority, Assad “los(ing) his dominant rule on Syria’s political scene;”
• a new Syrian army to replace the current one; and
• “a ban on any foreign military presence in Syria.”
On numerous occasions, Putin and Lavrov expressed support for Syrian sovereignty, its territorial integrity, and right of its people alone to choose their leadership and government, free from foreign interference.
Assad is overwhelmingly popular. He’ll easily win reelection if he chooses to run again.
Unlike Washington, Israel and their rogue allies, Russia doesn’t force its agenda on anyone. It’s for Syrians alone to decide their future, free from interference by anyone.
Restoring peace and stability to the country come first, everything else if these objectives can be achieved.
It won’t happen as long as Washington and its rogue allies want war and regime change – nor while the US and Turkey have a hostile and illegal military presence in the country.
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