» 06/19/2012 RUSSIA - USA Bilateral US-Russian agreement, on Syria Putin brings home a victory by Nina Achmatova In his first face to face with Obama since returning to the Kremlin, the Russian President had the satisfaction of seeing Washington admit the need for a "political process" in Damascus, and not outside intervention. Spokesman: Putin intends to continue with the reset.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - A "war of attrition" in which
Vladimir Putin, for the time being, looks like the winner. So say some Russian
newspapers, such as the authoritative Kommersant, commenting on the relations between the U.S. and Russia in
the aftermath of the first bilateral agreement between the U.S. president,
Barack Obama, and the head of the Kremlin, back in the highest seat in Russia
since May. The two met on June 18, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Los
Cabos, Mexico. The joint statement, coming out of the face to face after weeks
of friction between the two chancelleries, reflects Moscow's intention to
continue the policy of "resetting" (begun by Dmitri Medvedev in 2008)
and Washington's willingness to not force the partners, aware that it would be
a counter-productive choice with the new Russian president. Despite the tough
trading of accusations in recent days on the mutual responsibilities in the
violence in Syria and the tensions regarding the anti-missile shield in Eastern
Europe, the parties have decided to avoid further critical statements and
highlight the points in common.
Putin intends to give continuity to the positive process in
relations with the United States, his spokesman Dmtri Peskov made known from
Mexico. The two presidents addressed the burning issues which they see from
different positions: first of all, that of the Syrian crisis, but within the
context of "a very constructive and open dialogue," Peskov said. And
it is precisely concerning Syria, the Russian newspapers noted, that Obama made
concessions to Moscow, giving Putin a "trophy" to take home. In the
joint statement, the two launched an appeal for an end to the violence and they
admitted the existence of "many points in common" on the issue.
Abandoning a more interventionist line, Washington recognized the need for a
"political process" to prevent civil war. "We are united in the
belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to choose their own
future in a democratic and independent manner," the statement said. The
Kremlin has always refused to support new measures against the regime in
Damascus at the Security Council, fearing that, as in Libya, they might actually
cover an external armed intervention and the overthrow of a friendly regime.
Also on the anti-missile shield - which the U.S. would like
to install in Europe, and which Moscow opposes - conciliatory tones were used
after those of the Cold War, which led Putin to boycott the G8 summit in Camp
David. The two leaders expressed a willingness to find a compromise to overcome
their differences. The entire meeting recalled the atmosphere of times when
Obama met with the 'liberal' Medvedev. At the end, the head of the Kremlin
invited his colleague to visit Moscow, where he hasn't been for three years.
No mention of the so-called "Magnitsky list", a
list of some Russian officials banned from the U.S., because they are linked to
serious human rights violations, and concerning whose approval the U.S. Senate
will soon make a decision. Moscow has already threatened retaliatory measures,
but after the meeting in Los Cabos, the U.S. initiative might not go ahead.