Syria, the diplomatic option

As I stated in my last article on Syria, the key element to resolve the crisis was the use and exercise of diplomacy, and I upheld this in interviews with several media, in which I reasserted that the formula to lead the Syrian conflict to safe harbour is: diplomacy, diplomacy and diplomacy. I held this stance because I consider it is the way to reach a peaceful outcome and I understood that not all possible channels of diplomatic negotiation had been exhausted. This has become evident as American and Russian diplomacies have reached a complex agreement in Geneva and, for now, the use of force in Syria has been put off. Negotiations began months ago sotto voce and have now resulted in a political agreement reached at the same time of the submission of the United Nations mission report confirming, “unequivocally and objectively, that chemical weapons have been used in Syria”. I hail this agreement and do wish and hope it may pave the way for a reconciliation process.

This first step in the form of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement to control and destroy Syrian chemical weapons allows gaining time and furthering negotiations, since difficulties will arise in their advancement. This requires a ceasefire by combatants and a significant contingent to control the chemical weapon destruction process. Although this progress has certain weaknesses, it gives cause for hope on fostering a political process in Syria which allows to put an end to the conflict. This success of politics and diplomacy over violence cannot be tarnished by the negotiation of a Security Council resolution. Efforts must now focus on promoting a Geneva 2 conference, keeping up the pressure on the opposing sides and compelling them to negotiate, and avoiding the spread of the conflict to the area. This first success of diplomacy is endorsed by global, and mainly American, public opinion, and may open up a new bilateral relationship between both countries resulting in a resolute action to control weapons. Congratulations to Presidents Obama and Putin for this step, and their foreign policy ministers Kerry and Lavrov. The promotion of the diplomatic option in Syria may open up a path for conflict resolution at an international scale.