Deadline Syria

The rhetoric meets reality today as the deadline for Syria to begin withdrawal of its troops arrives and is being promptly met with skepticism and doubt by foreign diplomats.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said that “commitments have been made and made and made and broken and broken and broken.”

April 10 has come, but now the international community is faced with the inevitable question: what now?

Foreign Policy’s Bruce Jones suggests diplomats follow the precedent set by the UN Security Council when it was at a stalemate concerning the crisis in Kosovo.

Jones says it was a crucial breakthrough was reached during a G8 meeting, but expressed some doubt that a likely resolution will occur given the difficulty the US and other Western nations have had in getting Russia and China to support action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“There will be ferocious diplomacy to that end in the next few days, as well as diplomacy aimed at seeing whether Beijing can be persuaded to play ball — or at least not block Security Council action — leaving Moscow more isolated. We could still see the Security Council agreeing to a new resolution, calling on President Bashar al-Assad to implement Annan’s plan and agreeing to deploy a monitoring force. Still, those hoping for a diplomatic solution to this mess shouldn’t fool themselves — the odds are low,” he writes.

A New York Times editorial contended that recent events “should compel the United Nations Security Council to take tough and unified action against Mr. Assad and his forces. That means that Russia and China, which previously vetoed substantive council resolutions, must stop protecting his brutal regime.”

While Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told Russia Today that his government was prepared to talk to all opposition groups and that Russia maintains “contacts with the external opposition in capitals where they seat, where they reside, but not in Moscow yet.”

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