Russia, US push for political solutions in Syria, new constitution by August

Kerry-Putin

Amid intense differences over the future of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, crucial part of any peace agreement, Russia and the US have agreed to push the Syrian regime and rebels to expedite peace process and reach a political solution to end civil war. Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State John Kerry have said that Moscow and Washington would try to nudge Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to “make the right decision” and engage in the peace talks. The both sides also agreed that the US-Russian cooperation had been instrumental in halting hostilities in war-torn Syria. “The improvements are welcome but they are not sufficient nor are they permanent. It is not a job finished and that is why we talked here today,” Mr Kerry said.

“Russia will have to speak itself as to what it is going to choose to do in order to help Mr Assad make the right decisions, but we agreed today that we will accelerate the effort to try to move the political process forward,” Mr Kerry told reporters after his talks with Mr Putin. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia would encourage all sides to commit to the principles of the talks in Geneva, which are being brokered by the United Nations.

The US and Russia have also agreed to aim for a draft version of a new constitution for Syria by August. “We agreed on a target schedule for establishing a framework for a political transition and also a draft constitution, both of which we targeted by August,” Mr Kerry said at a joint news conference with Mr Lavrov. In his response, Mr Lavrov said that the US and Russia would press the Syrian government and opposition to hold “direct talks” in Geneva that will move toward “a transitional governance structure”.

Mr Kerry’s visit to Moscow underscores efforts from both sides to craft a changed attitude in relations between Russia and the US, a focused move towards cooperation after two years of cold war style hostility. Praising for US leadership in Syria Mr Putin said: “We are aware that the groundwork we have on Syria has only been possible by the supreme political leadership of the United States, specifically by the leadership of President Obama.”

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