US Secretary of State John Kerry headed to Paris Saturday to hold talks about the Syrian war. The Sunday meeting of the “Friends of Syria” grouping at the French foreign affairs ministry will include ministers from 11 countries.
Those countries — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey; and Arab League nations Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan – will increase pressure on Jarba to persuade the opposition to join the UN-led talks, which are set to open in the Swiss town of Montreux on January 22.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will then hold joint talks on Jan. 13 in the runup to the Geneva 2 conference on Syria, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported on Friday.
“On Jan. 13 there will be a meeting with Kerry and a three-party one with Kerry and Brahimi,” Interfax quoted an unnamed source at the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying of Lavrov’s discussions in Paris to prepare for Geneva 2.
Lavrov will also meet the Syrian National Coalition’s top representatives – President Ahmad al-Jarba and Secretary General Badr Jamous in Paris
The Syrian National Coalition, Syria’s Western-backed opposition in exile, is meeting on Jan 17th to decide whether to even attend the Geneva conference, and if they do agree to attend, they are still refusing to talk with Syrian government representatives.
Meanwhile Syrian forces are moving into Aleppo to take ground given up by the al Qaeda ISIS as they were overpowered by US backed insurgents.
The French let slip the only real reason for the Geneva II Conference where the parties will not even speak to one another.
A French diplomat stated: “We think it is important that they [the Syrian National Coalition] decide to attend, even if it is only to show that you have an opposition willing to agree to a process of transition on their side and, on the other side, a regime that might be willing to put people on the plane to Geneva but not to negotiate a political solution.”
In fact it is the insurgents who are refusing a political solution and this met is a propaganda farce whose main purpose is to unite the many different opposition factions and try to make Syria look responsible for the failure of this conference. This conference is a means to say that “we tried everything” and the Syrians rejected peace.
Kerry, will also take advantage of his stop in Paris to return to the issue of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, meeting with Arab League nations.
Kerry had been expected to return to Israel this week as he seeks to hammer out a framework to guide the negotiations in the coming months. But his office said no decision had yet been made on when he might return for more talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
After Paris, Kerry heads to Kuwait on January 15 for a Syria donor’s conference set to be attended by officials from some 60 countries. The conference aims to raise around $6.5 billion for Syria.
He will then go to Switzerland for Jan 22 meet with the UB Secretary General and UN envoy Brahimi, and on Jan 23 for the beginning of the Geneva II Conference.
In other news the US Congress is ready to pass new and heavy sanctions on Iran in February. Iran warns that if the bill is passed, they will regard the recent nuclear agreement as void.