MESOP Kerry’s last words : – “Not Abandoning the Pursuit of Peace”

5 Oct 2016 – By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the US is “not abandoning the pursuit of peace” in Syria, despite Washington’s limitation of co-operation with Russia. In a speech in Brussels, Kerry returned to his proposal, tabled at the UN Security Council two weeks ago, for a suspension of Russian and regime military flights:We are not giving up on the Syrian people and we are not abandoning the pursuit of peace.

We will continue to pursue a meaningful, sustainable, enforceable cessation of hostilities throughout the country – and that includes the grounding of Syrian and Russian combat aircraft in designated areas.

Damascus and Moscow immediately rejected Kerry’s statement as a “breach of sovereignty” and continued their escalation of bombing of opposition areas, notably in Aleppo city.The Secretary of State did not say how Washington will now pursue a political resolution. Instead, he focused on the cause of the US-Russian rift:We acknowledge in sorrow and, I have to tell you, a great sense of outrage that Russia has turned a blind eye to Assad’s deplorable use of these weapons of war, chlorine gas and barrel bombs, against his people.

Together, the Syrian regime and Russia seemed to have rejected diplomacy…[for] the broken bodies, bombed-out hospitals and traumatized children of a long-suffering land.

On Monday, the State Department announced the suspension of discussions with Russia over a political process, which had included the arrangement of a brief ceasefire earlier this month. It also said that a Joint Implementation Center for intelligence-sharing on airstrikes, which was to have followed the ceasefire, will not be established.

The US will continue consultation with Russia over “de-confliction” to avoid accidental clashes between American and Russian warplanes in Syrian airspace.

Kerry had hoped that the seven-day ceasefire, agreed after months of US discussions with Moscow, would lead to an agreement on President Assad’s future as well as arrangements for humanitarian aid and a reduction in violence.

However, Russia and the regime renewed bombing on September 19, within hours of the Syrian military’s declaration of an end to the “freeze on hostilities”, with a strike on a UN aid convoy trying to deliver supplies to Aleppo.

Russian-regime attacks then escalated on opposition areas in and near Aleppo, killing more than 500 civilians since September 22.

Kerry said on Tuesday, “People who are serious about making peace behave differently.” He returned to some of his harshest language during the conflict, used after the Assad regime’s chemical attacks near Damascus in August 2013 that killed more than 1,400 people:

As we know, this tragic war has been made worse by the utter depravity of the regime, that doesn’t hesitate to still use gas, chlorine, mixed with other ingredients to kill its citizens, that drops barrel bombs on hospitals and children and women. You also have the irresponsible and profoundly ill-advised decision by Russia to associate its interests and reputation with that of Assad, a man who has been responsible for torturing more than ten thousand people. Within days of similar words by Kerry in 2013, President Obama reversed course and rejected US military intervention in response to the chemical attacks. Instead, Washington follow Russia’s lead in the pursuit of Assad’s handover of chemical stocks and equipment.

Despite the transfer and destruction of much of the regime’s chemical stockpile, it continued to use chlorine among its aerial attacks on opposition territory.