Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, told reporters in a Moscow news briefing that the United States is trying to “sabotage” an already fragile Syrian peace deal.
“by interpreting it from such cardinally different points. By and large, a number of [US] officials in fact attempted to call into question the agreements reached, which were approved by the two presidents”
She of course was referring to Secretary of State, John Kerry and his remarks after both President Obama and President Putin made the agreement to implement the Syrian ceasefire on February 27th by announcing that if this
“Political transition fails to unfold in Syria, Washington has a slew of “Plan B” options.”
Naturally, Secretary Kerry’s comments on “Plan B” were met with harsh criticism as Ms. Zakharova completely denounced any chance of Russia partaking in it and said,
“Despite the reports which started coming from Washington, we are in contact with the American representatives, the process is underway, and is quite active. We are working on the implementation of the main provisions of the agreement.”
Ms. Zakharova also emphasized the importance of Syrian Kurds participating in the ceasefire deal and said,
“We believe that Kurdish representatives should participate in this group [group of the Syrian opposition] and this necessity is proved everyday on the ground in Syria.”
Russia’s position on the Syrian Kurds serves to further agitate an already irritated Turkey who has been insisting that Syrian Kurdish forces remain excluded from the ceasefire plan (this on top of strained relations between the two countries over Turkey shooting down a Russian fighter jet that entered Turkish airspace last November). Additionally, it was a little over a week ago that the Turkish foreign minister called out the U.S. for conflicting statements regarding U.S. support for Kurdish forces; undoubtedly, the U.S. will now be sandwiched in between Russia and Turkey over the Syrian Kurds having a seat at the Syrian ceasefire table.
In a related development, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, announced that on Friday, he will set a date for Syria’s warring parties to return to the negotiating table for round two of peace talks (indirect peace talks were halted when the Syrian government and the opposition reached a stalemate in Geneva on February 3rd).