Author : Kanchi Gupta

Issue BriefsPublished on Aug 23, 2023 PDF Download
ballistic missiles,Defense,Doctrine,North Korea,Nuclear,PLA,SLBM,Submarines

Geneva II: Breakthrough or Stalemate?

With the stage set for the Geneva II conference on Syria, positions have been drawn, bargaining will be tough and the outcome could go either way.

The deadlock between the Assad regime in Syria and the opposition groups has plunged the country into a civil war—already in its third year. The involvement of radical Islamic groups, Talong with the military and financial support being provided by foreign powers to the warring sides, has resulted in no group achieving a clear military victory. Thus, the Western-initiated Geneva II dialogue for a political resolution to the crisis is critical for breaking this stalemate. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s last minute invitation to Iran put the conference in jeopardy as the Syrian opposition groups withheld their participation. The conference is now scheduled to go ahead as the invitation to Teheran has been withdrawn.

The tacit cooperation between US and Russia over Syria’s chemical weapons has opened up the possibility of a political solution to the crisis. The Geneva II dialogue seeks to realise the objective of a political transition as outlined in the Geneva I Declaration. However, the document’s ambiguity on the survival of the Assad regime remains the prime point of contention between all stakeholders. Infighting within the opposition coalition and the Assad regime’s refusal to relinquish power are also impediments to the outcome of the dialogue.

The Geneva II conference on Syria is scheduled to be held at the Palais de Nations in Geneva on January 22. The objective of the conference is to bring the warring Syrian parties to the negotiation table and arrive at a consensus on the proposals of the Geneva I communiqué issued in June 2012. At Geneva I, the Action Group members identified measures necessary to implement a six-point plan put forth by UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy, Kofi Annan. The plan would facilitate a political transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people through a Syrian-led political process. It was decided that the “transitional government body” could include members of the Syrian regime and opposition groups based on “mutual consent”.

The Geneva I dialogue was attended by the UN Secretary-General, The Secretary-General of the Arab League, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Russia, the United States, France, China, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and the High Representative of the European Union.

This Issue Brief outlines the trajectory of diplomatic dialogues leading up to Geneva II and the domestic realities that overshadow these initiatives.

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