A western-regional document formulated in Paris on Tuesday was aimed at helping UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura lead Syria’s peace talks and was a sign of growing US interest in the country’s political process, European diplomatic sources said.
“Talks that were held two days ahead of the Vienna meetings and one week before the Sochi Congress were aimed at achieving progress in the Geneva track, which had failed to make any breakthrough in 2017,” the sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday.
On Thursday, Asharq Al-Awsat quoted western diplomatic sources as saying that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had agreed with his counterparts from European and regional states, on a document for a political solution in Syria, including limiting the president’s authorities.
Friday’s sources said that Tillerson’s proposed document, which was amended in Paris, aims to prevent Russia from undermining UN efforts in Geneva by organizing the Sochi congress, allow the UN and its envoy to control the political transition in Syria based on the five-point goal, and receive something in return for “compromises” made by the west and the Syrian opposition by stopping to call for Bashar Assad’s departure at the beginning of the transitional period.
The document stressed the importance of providing the “needed environment” for holding legislative and presidential elections in Syria, accompanied by constitutional amendments.
The sources said the document is a reflection of a revived American role in the Syria peace talks following months of stagnation.
Tillerson asserted that he is determined to make the US, once again, an essential part of the Syrian talks and agreements, in line with the new US policy towards Iran and Washington’s determination to curtail Iran’s influence, the sources said.
They added that participants of the Paris meeting found themselves in harmony with Tillerson’s proposal, while western and regional states believed that the timing was “suitable” to exert pressure on the Russian side.