The president of the United States and the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, have restarted direct communications with the aim of agreeing a new ceasefire in the civil way of Syria. Tuesday’s call was intended to advance in a more collaborative relationship after the rupture of interactions over the past weeks.
Donald Trump has consented to assign a representative to the ceasefire talks which start on Wednesday in Kazakhstan, in the first conversation between the US and Russia since the first launched a missile strike on Syria as a retaliation for a chemical attack on civilians.
At Kazakhstan, Putin intends to suggest that Russia, Iran and Turkey act as buffer forces in order to separate the government and rebel forces in diverse areas of Syria. However, US and Russian officials show opposite approaches regarding the establishment of safe zones over the country to protect civilians.
The historical peace deal that the President Juan Manuel Santos and the country’s largest rebel group’s leader Rodrigo Londoño “Timochenko” had signed days before has been defeated by Colombians in a referendum yesterday, throwing the country into sudden confusion about its future.
With counting concluded from 98.98% of polling stations, the “no” vote won by 50.2% to 49.8%, a difference of fewer than 54,000 votes. The verdict on the peace deal between the government and the FARC, achieved after four years of intense negotiations, means it cannot be now implemented.
After publishing the results, Santos said he would send his negotiators back to Havana to meet with FARC leaders today, adding that he would continue seeking peace until the last of his presidency. Moreover, he will also meet with all political parties in order to find a way to achieve the final peace process.
The FARC leader, on the other hand, claimed that the insurgent group would maintain its desire for peace, reiterating its disposition to “use only words as weapon to build toward the future”.
Although the bilateral ceasefire that has been in place since 29 August will continue, there is a high uncertainty on how the peace process will proceed and what steps need to be taken from now on in order to maintain social and political stability in the country.
Although Syrian civil war had been definitely one of the most decisive issues to discuss in the context of the G20 summit in China, it seemed that the talks between USA and Russia to start a ceasefire did not have the expected development since there were no clear solutions found.
However, in the following days after the Hangzhou summit, the ceasefire became a reality when these two countries affirmed that they had reached an agreement. This means that the new deal would lead to a ceasefire and facilitate a broader military cooperation with the aim of destroying the Islamic State.
There are still significant obstacles in the way of carrying out this last agreement since hundreds of factions are fighting today in Syria and achieving a total cooperation is truly laborious. Nevertheless, the ceasefire is set to begin at sundown on Monday. As the Pentagon announced, a “cessation of hostilities” would have to be held for seven days before the broader military cooperation between USA and Russia would go into effect.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to comply with the new deal and supports the initiative accorded by both countries.