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Détente? US Now Calling Russia an 'Important Partner'

The Russian government has always refered to the West as 'our partners' but rarely has this term been reciprocated

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Originally Appeared at German Economic News. Translated from the German by Susan Neumann

The US government wants to strengthen its cooperation with Russia in Syria. Washington calls Russia a "significant" partner and wants to cooperate with Russian President Vladimir Putin in finding out those that represent reliable opposition in the country.


For the first time, US Secretary of State John Kerry has explicitly acknowledged Russia's role in the Middle East. Differences aside, Russia is an "important partner," said Kerry at a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday. This is Secretary Kerry’s second trip to Russia, where he will not only meet with Lavrov, but with President Vladimir Putin as well.

According to Russian news agencies, Lavrov called on the United States to exert more pressure on the Ukrainian leadership in Kiev to put an end to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

The rapprochement between the two superpowers represents a deepening cooperation between Obama and Putin with regard to Syria. The two presidents had agreed at September’s UN General Assembly in New York to cooperate in Syria. This annoyed the US neocons, who still view the Russians as a mortal enemy and would sooner send thousands of ground troops to the Middle East. Turkey and their secret service are also making trouble, because they’re pursuing interests other than those of the US government.

Despite these adversities which mostly serve to limit the maneuverability of the US government, Moscow and Washington are jointly testing political solutions to the post-Assad era in Syria. Both governments have long since given up their extreme positions on this issue. The US government is no longer fixated on the immediate overthrow of Assad, nor does Russia want to support the Syrian President at any and all costs. The remaining question of who will take part in the future politics of Syria is difficult to answer.

Therefore, the international conference on Syria planned for this week is still uncertain. Although Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry agreed per telephone conversation on the conditions for another round of talks, the Moscow Foreign Ministry said that both politicians say that a list of Islamist Terrorist groups must first be created, in order to combat these groups successfully. The delegation of the fragmented opposition also has to be negotiated. This delegation would work with representatives of the Syrian government.

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