- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Administration close to Syria decision as John Kerry meets with Russian counterpart
As Secretary of State John F. Kerry met in Berlin with his Russian counterpart, American and European officials said Tuesday that the Obama administration is close to deciding whether to provide direct assistance to rebel forces in Syria.
A senior Kerry aide said the bloodshed in Syria was a big part of Tuesday’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, but the two men also discussed trade and U.S. concerns about a law barring Americans from adopting Russian children.
The meeting was part of the secretary of state’s first overseas, multinational diplomatic mission, and was held just days ahead of a key international meeting in Rome to address the ongoing violence in Syria.
The Associated Press reported that a decision could be made by Thursday on whether the United States will supply direct assistance to elements of the Free Syrian Army as they seek to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Despite the Obama administration’s self-described “reset” with Moscow in 2009, most foreign policy analysts in Washington agree that Russia is engaged in significant backsliding toward authoritarianism, with few punches being pulled in its defiance toward the West.
Since Vladimir Putin retook the nation’s presidency last year, his government has ordered the U.S. Agency of International Development to cease operations in Russia and forced Radio Free Europe to stop broadcasting in the nation where rights groups have cited a growing crackdown on opposition movements.
Moscow, long one of Mr. Assad’s closest allies, maintains a naval base on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, and effectively blocked a U.S.- and Arab League-backed U.N. Security Council resolution that would have authorized an international intervention in Syria last year.
An estimated 70,000 Syrians have been killed in fighting since military forces loyal to Mr. Assad began cracking down on opposition groups in March 2011.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Mr. Kerry and Mr. Lavrov met for an hour and 45 minutes and engaged in a “really serious and hardworking session,” with a focus on how they could “work together” to implement a so-called Geneva agreement on Syria.
The agreement — backed by several other international parties during a meeting in June in Switzerland — seeks to bring officials from the Assad government to the negotiating table with opposition groups fighting for the Syrian president’s ouster.
On Wednesday, for instance, representatives from nearly a dozen nations are gathering in Rome to hold talks with leaders of the Syrian opposition. Notably absent from that meeting will be Russia.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.
His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.
Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...
- Namibia official defends safari auctions of rhinos,saying funds aid conservation
- U.S. urges direct talks between Russia, new Ukraine government
- Israelis had U.S. help in intercepting Iranian missile shipment to Palestine
- Special congressional panel to investigate FBI contact with bin Laden
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI had human source in contact with bin Laden as far back as 1993
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Vietnam says it may have found door of missing Malaysian jet as intel look into stolen passports
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- EDITORIAL: Senate rejects Adegbile for Justice post
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland as exercise in response to Ukraine situation
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again