ANALYST: PUTIN’S WIN-WIN DEAL IN ASTANA

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Turkey and Russia expressed their readiness to invite the representatives from the United States to the upcoming Syrian peace talks. Earlier Russian leader Vladimir Putin has stressed the need to respect the interests of Washington as one of global players in the region.

US Department of State’s John Kirby answering the question on Washington’s readiness to participate in Astana talks on Syria said he didn’t know what decision Trump’s Administration had made as the invitation to the meeting was addressed to it. He also mentioned that he was trying to avoid any talks on his ties with new Administration. After these words some political observers said it could mean that leaving Administration and Trump’s team have reached some kind of agreement. At the same time some recalled the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s words on intention to encourage the new White House Administration to send people to Kazakhstan.

Iran’s reaction became a wake-up call at this situation. The head of Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday Tehran is against Washington’s participation in Astana peace talks. The Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani supported the Foreign Minister saying the United States have never kept their promises on peaceful settlement, so it’s unwise to expect them to uphold them now.

Michael Kofman, a Research Scientist at CNA and a Fellow at the Wilson Center analyst said the Russians don’t care who Washington would send to Astana. This invitation is some kind of “good will” as Turkey-Iran-Russia ceasefire meeting in Moscow was held without the United States. Obviously, all three sides are expected to play the same game in Astana.
According to Kofman, Iran’s sabotage is a win-win situation for Putin as the Russian leader has kept Washington aside from the talks and maintained the image of a politician always open to dialogue.

At the same time, Washington is an important player in the region and its joining the Syrian crisis settling process with no doubt will help the international community to stabilize the situation in the Middle East. But for the most effective cooperation the White House is expected to be ready to act as one, as equal with other participants, as true partners.

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