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Expert: Initiative on chemical weapons in Syria does not guarantee overall improvement of Russia-US relations

September 12, 2013, 23:50 UTC+3
“I would say the odds are worse than fifty-fifty, given the lack of trust between the United States and Russia and Syria,” Graham said
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WASHINGTON, September 12 (Itar-Tass) - The managing director of the Kissinger Associates, Mr. Thomas Graham, believes that accumulation of success in implementing the new Russia-supported plan on chemical weapons in Syria “will have a significant positive impact on U.S.- Russian relations.”

At the same time, he warned that it would not be easy for the United States, Russia and Syria to agree on a joint action plan.

“I would say the odds are worse than fifty-fifty, given the lack of trust between the United States and Russia and Syria,” Graham said.

“At this point, there is not so much a plan as the outlines of a plan,” Graham, who was the chief presidential adviser on Russia under the Republican administration of George Bush Jr, said.

“The task for the next several days is to craft a plan that specifies what is to be done by whom on what schedule, what obligations various countries, especially Syria, and organizations undertake, and what the sanctions will be if the obligations are not met,” Thomas Graham explained.

In his view, it would be impossible to say how realistic the plan is without certain details, such as “How can the United States and others be confident that all of Syria’s chemical weapons have been declared, all the locations identified? Who actually will take control of the weapons? How will they be destroyed?”

“The immediate question may be how realistic it is that the United States, Russia and Syria will agree on a detailed plan. I would say the odds are worse than fifty-fifty, given the lack of trust between the United States and Russia and Syria,” the U.S. expert went on to say.

Thomas Graham did not rush to make any conclusions.

“The destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons will take years even under the best of circumstances,” the expert said.

“There will be numerous moments along the way where the United States and Russia will have to cooperate to move the process forward. Each of those moments could bring success or failure,” Graham emphasized.

“The accumulation of successes would have a significant positive impact on U.S.- Russian relations, helping to build the trust that is necessary to cooperation on a broader range of issues,” Graham continued.

“Each failure would mark a setback of some dimensions in relations. We also need to remember that much that happens on other issues could erode or facilitate cooperation on the Syrian issue. In any event, it will take a great deal of care and persistence to move forward on Syria as well as on the overall relationship,” Graham said.

 

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