MESOP Syria Daily: US to Press Russia to Drop Assad? / ASSAD REGIME SATISFIED AFTER MEETING WITH EU LEADER & PUTIN FRIEND FREDERICA MOGHERINI (ITALY-LEFT)
by Scott Lucas – 24 March 2016 – US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday, with American officials saying that Washington will push for a political transition in Syria without Bashar al-Assad.A State Department official told the press: The Secretary would like to now really hear where President Putin is in his thinking …on a political transition.
Obviously what we are looking for, and what we have been looking for, is how we are going to transition Syria away from Assad’s leadership.
Kerry’s trip to Moscow was scheduled after Putin’s surprise announcement on March 14 that Russia will withdraw “most” of its military forces from Syria.
REGIME POSITIVE AFTER MEETING WITH EU LEADER
The head of the Assad regime’s delegation issued an optimistic statement after seeing the European Union’s foreign policy chief in Geneva on Wednesday. “For the first time, I can tell you that we were able to break the impasse, maybe in the form and a little bit in substance,” Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria’s UN Ambassador, said after the session with Federica Mogherini.
No details were given of the discussion. Mogherini, who also met the opposition-rebel High Negotiations Committee, said that the EU had not changed its position on the need to start a political transition. Jaafari has been under pressure for several days over his supposed reluctance to enter significant negotiations and a “bland” regime paper presented to UN envoy Staffan de Mistura last week.The regime delegation said de Mistura had handed them a document which they would study on their return to Damascus, following an adjournment of the talks on Thursday.