US Secretary of State John Kerry criticised Russia on Monday for enabling Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to stay in power after the failure of the latest round of negotiations, which took place over the weekend in Geneva between representatives of the Syrian regime and the opposition.
“The Syrian regime is stonewalling the peace efforts. All it has done is to continue throwing explosive barrels to kill its people and destroy its country. I regret to say that they are doing so with increasing support from Iran, Hezbollah and Russia,” Kerry said during a press conference in Jakarta with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.
“Russia needs to be a part of the solution and not be contributing so many more weapons and so much more aid that they are in fact enabling Al-Assad to double down,” he added.
The first round of negotiations between representatives of the Syrian regime and the opposition failed, after 15 days, to make any substantial progress. The second round of negotiations in Geneva ended on Saturday after only several days and without any results at all, casting doubts on the future of a process that aims to put an end to the conflict that has been raging in Syria for nearly three years.
The delegations representing the regime and the opposition differ on the talks’ agenda. Whereas the opposition insists on discussing the formation of “a transitional governing body” to assume all powers including that of the president, the government’s delegation insists on discussing only “the fight against terrorism”, a term it uses to include all armed opposition groups fighting in Syria.