“We spent a very, very lengthy period on Syria. With a great amount of detail on the agreement, we concluded today but also where we go,” Tillerson said of the meeting between Trump and Putin.
CBS News and the Associated Press report that Jordan and Israel, which border on southern Syria, are also part of the plan. Jordanian Minister of Media Affairs Mohammed Momani announced on Friday that the ceasefire would go into effect at noon local time on Sunday, July 9.
It remains to be seen whether the Syrian military, rebel forces, and assorted terrorist gangs will honor the agreement. The track record of previous ceasefires has not been encouraging. One hopeful sign noted by CBS/AP is that the Syrian government has already announced a four-day unilateral suspension of combat operations, which will end just before the U.S.-Russia deal goes into effect.
The new ceasefire announcement is considered separate from the “de-escalation” plans Russia has brokered with Iran and Turkey through peace talks in Kazakhstan, which pointedly excluded the United States. The latest round of talks in Kazakhstan this week fell short of producing a final ceasefire plan because a few of the parties actually shooting at each other in Syria seemed willing to sign on. A Russian-Turkish initiative to deploy troops from Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan to monitor Syrian de-escalation zones also appears to have fizzled.
It marks a positive shift in relations between America and Russia after such incidents as the U.S. cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase to retaliate for a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime and Russia threatening to target warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition if they entered certain regions of Syria’s airspace.
This week, Secretary Tillerson said President Trump was interested in discussing no-fly zones and the delivery of humanitarian aid with Putin, along with a monitored ceasefire. Tillerson also cautioned the Syrian regime and its allies from rushing in to occupy areas where the U.S. and its coalition partners have routed ISIS.
Notably, Tillerson dropped dictator Bashar Assad squarely in Russia’s lap, describing Russia as “guarantor of the Assad regime” and saying it “has a responsibility to ensure that the needs of the Syrian people are met.”
He returned to that point after Trump’s meeting with Putin on Friday, claiming rather optimistically that American and Russia have similar objectives in Syria other than the fate of Assad’s regime. He insisted that the United States continues to “see no long-term role for Assad” in Syria, and insisting the endgame for that tormented country will involve a “transition from the Assad family.”
Michael McFaul: McMaster ‘Weakened’ By Exclusion From Trump-Putin Meeting
Former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul said Friday that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was “weakened” because he was excluded from President Donald Trump’s meeting in Germany with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“This is not good for H.R. McMaster,” McFaul, who served as ambassador to Russia under former President Barack Obama, told Chuck Todd on MSNBC. “This weakens him within the inner agency – and it’s just not good idea.
“Why not have your national security adviser in the most important meeting you’ve had as president when it comes to foreign policy?”
Besides Trump and Putin, only Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and two translators were present for the meeting, according to news reports.
“When a president meets with a head of state, if there is only a plus-one, it is always the national security adviser,” McFaul said. “It should be more than that, precisely, because of the conversation you’ve just been having.
“You want somebody to take notes.
“That was a job I did when President Obama met with Putin and Medvedev, because you want a transcript of what happened,” he added, referencing the 2012 session with then-President Dmitry Medvedev in South Korea.
Notes from the meeting are especially critical because of the “dueling readouts” from Tillerson and Lavrov afterward, McFaul said.
Tillerson told reporters that Trump began the session by expressing U.S. concerns about Russia’s election meddling last year, which Putin denied.
He called the discussion on the topic “robust and lengthy.”
But Lavrov said that President Trump “accepted” Putin’s assurance that Moscow did not interfere in the November election.
“What needs to happen is that Secretary Tillerson, because he’s the only on one besides the president who was there, needs to emphatically state what the American side was,” McFaul told Todd.
“Otherwise, reading the readouts on both sides suggests that: ‘Oh, yeah, it was raised, but it really wasn’t raised in a very forceful way.’
“Why isn’t the president of the United States raising it as his own concern?” he asked.
“That suggests that there wasn’t a very big conversation – and that’s a mistake.
“He looks weak in the eyes of Putin,” McFaul said, “and he’s not defending America’s national interests.”
Globalist McMaster along with the other globalists should be removed from the Trump Administration.
US, RUSSIA REACH DEAL ON SYRIA CEASE-FIRE – HUGE TRUMP VICTORY
This is a major diplomatic win for Trump, and a reversal of Obama’s warmongering
July 7, 2017 by Kit Daniels
The United States and Russia have reportedly agreed on a cease-fire for a wartorn region of Syria, US officials told media as President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in person.
Although details of the cease-fire have yet to be released, it’s known that it will take effect Sunday at noon Damascus time, the AP reported.
Prior to Trump’s meeting with Putin, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US was open to working together with Russia in Syria.
“The US is prepared to explore the possibility of establishing with Russia joint mechanisms for ensuring stability, including no-fly zones, on the ground ceasefire observers, and coordinated delivery of humanitarian assistance,” he stated on Wednesday. “If our two countries work together to establish stability on the ground, it will lay a foundation for progress on the settlement of Syria’s political future.”
According to the AP:
Earlier in the week, Syria’s military had said it was halting combat operations in the south of Syria for four days, in advance of a new round of Russia-sponsored talks in Astana. That move covered southern provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and Sweida. Syria’s government briefly extended that unilateral cease-fire, which is now set to expire Saturday – a day before the U.S. and Russian deal would take effect.
The new agreement to be announced Friday will be open-ended, one U.S. official said, describing it as part of broader U.S. discussions with Russia on trying to lower violence in the war-ravaged country. Officials said the U.S. and Russia were still working out the details as Trump and Putin concluded their more than two-hour meeting on Friday.
It was no coincidence that the two countries reached a deal after Trump talked to Putin in person at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
The two leaders met for over two hours on Friday, despite the meeting only scheduled for 30 minutes, which indicates Trump took advantage of the in-person meeting to make a deal with Putin and hammer out details of the cease-fire.
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