Lausanne meeting on Syria: Another failure at intl. level

October 20, The Iran Project – Once again, a fresh round of diplomatic meeting aborted which was set to break a tense deadlock to halt fighting in Syria, as a nine-nation meeting in the Swiss city of Lausanne did not bring about fruitful results on any concrete action to prevent the violence.

After more than four hours, the Lausanne meeting also known as “Syria Peace Talks” convened by US Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up without any joint statement from the participating countries.

Kerry hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and seven foreign ministers from the region including Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt in the meeting, weeks after the collapse of a painstakingly crafted US-Russian ceasefire plan that many saw as the last hope for peace this year, which ended without a breakthrough. 

Iran’s Preconditions for participation

Firstly, Iran didn’t intend to participate in the talks, but after parties to the meeting agreed to some of the conditions set by Tehran for its involvement in the talks, the Islamic Republic of Iran accepted an invitation to attend the Lausanne meeting.

According to Tasnim news agency, the decision, however, came as a surprise. Only a day earlier, an informed source at the Foreign Ministry had dismissed reports of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s attendance in the negotiations, declaring that Iran would absent itself from the Lausanne talks because of a huge difference between its views and those of certain parties in the meeting.

But reports suggest that Tehran put forward its plans to resolve the Syria crisis in a series of subsequent contacts with top Russian and EU diplomats and laid down conditions for attending the Lausanne meeting.

Iran was finally persuaded to attend the talks after Russia and the other parties accepted part of its conditions and also agreed on an increase in the number of the participants.

Closed- Door Meeting

The participants of the international talks on Syria met behind closed doors in Lausanne, which lasted four hours without any visible breakthrough and finally agreed to continue work on solving the crisis, however.

After the meeting, Kerry told reporters that the talks were “constructive”, but admitted that the parties had failed to agree on any concrete action; on the other hand, Lavrov told Russian news agencies that the countries discussed several “interesting ideas”.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, all participants present at the meeting confirmed their commitment to “preserve Syria as an integral, independent and secular state, in which the future of the country is determined by the Syrians themselves in an inclusive political dialogue.”

Moscow believes that the operation against terrorists will carry on and the shaky ceasefire deal will only work if the “moderate” opposition distances itself from Al-Nusra and other terrorist groups.

Russia has repeatedly insisted that any peace plan for Syria, and in particular Aleppo, will not bear fruit until the US-backed rebels clearly distance themselves from Al-Nusra.

Meanwhile, an Al-Nusra commander has recently revealed in an interview that the group has been receiving outside support, including American weapons.

Moscow “doesn’t see any evidence that the US is seriously battling Al-Nusra [now known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham],” Lavrov said in an interview aired on Channel One Russia, adding that Moscow is suspicious about Washington’s calls to cease bombing runs against terrorists in Aleppo.

On the other side, The United States has objected to Russia’s assistance to Syria’s massive operation against militants in the northwestern city of Aleppo, saying the help has undermined peace efforts for Syria. Moscow has rejected the US allegation, while it still is in close contact with Washington.

The Syrian government says Washington has been trying to stage such negotiations to facilitate truce deals and buy more time for anti-government militants.

Through Russia’s aerial support, Syrian forces have managed to retake key areas from militants across the country.

A series of futile talks

The talks were the latest attempt at international level to find ways of putting an end to more than five years of conflict in Syria.

Although the Lausanne meeting ended with no breakthrough and no concrete developments at all from these talks, all eyes were on the diplomats from Washington and Moscow that their relations have been deteriorating rapidly blaming each other for escalation of crisis in Syria.

So far, a vast number of international efforts have doomed to failure to secure a political solution to Syria’s brutal war, which has cost more than 400,000 lives since 2011.

Iran and Russia support the elected Syrian government, while the US, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey back the militants fighting the state.

Since the beginning of Syria war, the Islamic Republic of Iran always viewed negotiation as the sole way out of the crises and the conflicts in this Arab country has no military solution and should be settled in a political way as well as talks between warring sides.