Some Good News from the Syria Talks

Syria’s opposition movement made a credible start toward establishing itself as a serious interlocutor, one of two positive developments from the opening of UN-sponsored peace talks on the Syrian civil war that are noted by Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof. The other good news, writes Hof, is that Secretary of State John Kerry made clear that the US is backing the opposition against President Bashar al-Assad, rather than attending the talks as a neutral mediator.  After January 24, when negotiators take a break of a week or more, the key question will be whether Iran and Russia use that interlude to press Assad to rein in his shelling and bombing of residential neighbourhoods, Hof says. That would be a step toward the essential goal of getting him to accept the presence throughout Syria of UN humanitarian agencies.

Read Frederic C. Hof’s analysis of the first day of the Geneva II International Conference on Syria in MENASource.

Below is a video of US Secretary of State John Kerry delivering remarks to the press at the Geneva II International Conference on Syria in in Montreux, Switzerland on January 22, 2013.

Related Experts: Frederic C. Hof