Written by Nasser Kandil,
Within the past days, there was a preparation for a meeting that brought together the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nicolai Patrushev, and the US National Security Advisors John Bolton, there were positions of high ceilings from both sides and questions about the justification of that meeting in the light of this inconsistency and discrepancy which reached the extent that Bolton warned Moscow from the endeavor of reconstruction of Syria without the exit of Iran, but the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov asked the forces which did not get the acceptance of the Syrian legitimate government to leave Syria, and then a new thing was revealed that Syria will be the most prominent attractive subject that will be present in the talks.
After the end of the meeting in Geneva, Bolton and Patrushev talked about the content of the meeting, they mentioned the failure in issuing a joint statement, Patrushev said that the failure was due to the rejection of mentioning the Russian non- interference in the US elections without mentioning the rejection of the interferences of America in the affairs of the other countries, while Bolton talked about the insistence of his administration on escalating the sanctions on Iran, but the Russian representative said that no accusations were directed to him regarding the US elections in the meeting, while the US representative said that the meeting did not touch upon the US sanctions on Iran and the Russians did not ask for their exception from the sanctions.
Most of the issues that were mentioned in the media positions of the two teams after the meeting were not discussed at the meeting at least by one of them, so this shows that they were not discussed, rather they were mentioned as preliminary titles that justify the need for cooperation, or as subjects that must be touched upon if there was a need to issue a final statement. Their sensitive aspects require a formulation that is difficult to have an understanding upon. But the useful sentence that mentioned at the final of the meeting was the agreement of activating channels of political, security, and military coordination between the US and the Russian governments. This was not reached in previous meetings, so this means that a deep understanding has been achieved accompanied by setting channels of coordination with an interest of some ambiguity.
Ignoring the situation in Syria in the statement issued by the two teams after the meeting, after it was the pivotal title before the meeting does not leave any doubt that the meeting was about Syria and the coordination will be about Syria. The key phrase which shows us the nature of the understanding is the fact that the meeting interpreted the understandings of Helsinki Summit which brought together the US President Donald Trump and the Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is known that the most important understandings of the summit were about Syria. The understandings in Syria will support the talks of Geneva which will be resumed next month under UN auspices between the government and the opposition, and will be about the preparation for the US withdrawal from Syria, and the launching of a plan for the return of the Syrian refugees to their country.
The other useful sentence in the concluding meeting was uttered by Patrushev, it can form an agenda at the levels of the coordination between the two parties. It offered Russian practical suggestions to the American side that will be studied. It can be concluded that these suggestions are related to the return of the refuges far from the political solution on one hand and according to the Russian demand, and are not linked with a plan of reconstruction on the other hand according to the American demand, rather according to a formula that will include the issue of the return of refugees, the political solution and the reconstruction. It can be concluded also the consensus on discussing a Russian plan that is consistent with the US demand not to withdraw from Syria and allow the Iranian to take their sites after the defeat of ISIS. The Russian position which does not consider the Iranian withdrawal from Syria realistic and possible restricts the search within military and security presence in the areas from which the American are withdrawing in a way that meets the call for a political solution as between the Kurdish leaderships and the Syrian country. The first negotiation steps started and can be ended when the Syrian army undertakes alone the responsibilities of security in the Kurdish controlled areas and where the Americans are present. While the battles of eliminating ISIS are taking place in the American and Kurdish controlled areas, and the military process of resolving Jisr Al Shogour and the surrounding of Idlib is taking place as in the south of Syria under Russian-Iranian support of the Syrian army without American campaign that targets the process, towards a simultaneous solution with Turkey and America to put the rest of Idlib and the eastern of Euphrates under the full control of the Syrian army, in order to launch united government within the project of the political solution which must start from Geneva and end with constitution and elections.
Translated by Lina Shehadeh,