Saturday, 01 February 2014 14:50

Alexander Aksenenok on Geneva-2

The first round of talks on Syria ended yesterday in Geneva. Now it’s important to figure out the outcome of the first round. Certainly, bearing in mind the severity of the internal conflict, the extent of violence and mercilessness in struggle for power in this unfortunate country one hardly anticipated any kind of quick and considerable shifts in its resolution. Nevertheless the very fact of holding a conference that wasn’t sabotaged by direct conflicting parties expressing public recriminations and along with divergent positions looks reassuring. It is worth mentioning that despite the fact that talks were indirect through the agency of experienced diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi the fiasco was avoided, though Mr. Brahimi himself anticipated any kind of unexpected events. This didn’t happen what is also promising.

One can be guardedly optimistic to presume that until the beginning of the second round of talks scheduled for February 10, 2014, conflicting parties will do their homework in direct contact with two prime sponsors of the Geneva-2 – Russia and the USA – with the UN assistance. It seems like the door of diplomacy is still open on finding a compromise, however it will be hard to strike it and for sure this will take long. Before February 10 it is of crucial importance to maintain contacts and undertake confidence-building measures discussed during the first round. In particular this relates to unblocking humanitarian situation in Homs. This issue was particularly stressed by the Syrian opposition and specifically discussed during the talks. Another question is that parties see different priorities and interpret phrasing of the Geneva-1 final document differently. However its phrasing can be interpreted differently. This is diplomacy. Otherwise Geneva-1 could end up without result. Variant readings were during resolution of conflicts in Bosnia and Eastern Slavonia. But having any kind of core document is better rather than having none. This is the alphabet of diplomacy. Now there comes a point to prepare ground for further negotiations. The cornerstone could be rather made of anti-terrorism efforts, claimed by the Syria government delegation, or discussions around transitional government body composition and authority, written down in the Geneva-1 final document.

I think both issues are equally reasonable. If same perception formed this might create atmosphere for compromise. One should complement another. If negotiations follow this path, the second round of talks may be more productive than the first one.      


Translated from Russian by Evgenia Efimova                   

Published in Commentaries

We present you the text of the speech "From Tunis to Damascus: the dissonant vision of Moscow" delivered by IMESClub Executive Director Maria Dubovikova during the international seminar "France, USA: different perspectives of a new Arab world" organized by IFRI in partnership with NYU Paris on the 15th March 2013. Report is in French. Can be translated in English on demand. 


Press to download "De Tunis à Damas: la vision dissonante de Moscou":


Published in Tribune
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