Yesterday’s talks of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Brunei made things clear as to key problems of Russian-American relations. As the Kommersant daily has learned, Moscow and Washington have already accepted the failure of the initiative to call an international conference on Syria - Geneva 2 - and are now deciding who will announce this. Besides, the Russian authorities have determined their stance on the recent offer of U.S. President Barack Obama to drastically cut nuclear arsenals of the two countries. Moscow considers this initiative was for show and in essence rejects it.
The seventh meeting of Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry was focused mainly on Syria, like most of the previous meetings, the newspaper writes. However, earlier the top diplomats of the two countries expressed optimism about prospects for a diplomatic settlement of the crisis, but now the mood has changed. The reason is the difficulties that emerged in paving the way for an international conference on Syria: up till now neither the date of Geneva 2 nor the lineup of its participants have been coordinated.
On the results of talks with Kerry, Lavrov reported on the sidelines of the ASEAN Security Forum in Brunei that Americans don’t give up the attempts to “consolidate the Syrian opposition on the platform of the Geneva communiqu·”. At the same time, according to a source of the Kommersant close to the Russian delegation, “the US is simply keeping this idea afloat, but in fact it is not going to call the conference any longer”. “One of the proofs of that is the decision of Washington to begin supplying Syrian oppositionists with arms. Another participant in the talks, Saudi Arabia, is also against Geneva 2,” the source explained. “A diplomatic game is in progress now as to who will be the first to publicly announce the failure of the initiative,” he summed up.