MESOP Syria Daily: Lavrov & Kerry Discuss Russia-US Cooperation

July 03 – 07:26 2016  – Scott Lucas – eaworldview – Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have discussed possible cooperation in Syria’s conflict, days after President Obama authorized consideration of coordinated aerial operations with Moscow.The Russian Foreign Ministry said Lavrov and Kerry spoke by phone on Saturday about “the fight against terrorist groups”.

On Monday, the Obama Administration sent a proposal for cooperation over airstrikes, including on the Islamic State and the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra, if Moscow gets the Assad regime to stop bombing US-supported rebel factions. The President personally approved the plan and Kerry supported it, despite the objections of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

Russia’s propaganda line for months has been that the US has undermined any chance for a political resolution by refusing to share coordinates for bombing and by not ensuring the “separation” of rebels from Nusra. The jihadists were excluded from a now-dormant February 27 cessation of hostilities agreement, brokered by the US and Russia.

The US proposal ruled out the alternative of stepped-up American military pressure on Syria’s President Assad to reach a political settlement.

More than 50 State Department staff had proposed in a “dissent channel cable” that the US carry out targeted airstrikes and provide weapons to some rebel factions. Kerry hailed the plan as a “very good” one and met some of the officials, although he declined to give public endorsement.