INTERNATIONAL PEACE INITIATIVES TO RESOLVE THE CONFLICT IN SYRIA
Ph.D., National Defense College, Sofia, Bulgaria, email@example.com
The article „International peace initiatives to resolve the conflict in Syria” reveals the international efforts to bring the conflict to an end and start a meaningful peace process that would reconcile the conflicting parties and engage them in a series of negotiations aiming to initiate a National Dialogue, draft a mutually acceptable Constitution and prepare free and fair elections that would decide the issue of political power in the country. The article outlines the peace endeavors of the United Nations Security Council, which adopted several resolutions to support the efforts to prevent the use of chemical weapons in Syria, authorize a mechanism to conduct humanitarian operations and establish cease-fire conditions. Furthermore, the article describes in detail the so called Geneva Peace Process as the framework, which started negotiating the establishment of transitional power architecture with a transitional governing body possessing full executive powers, comprised of representatives of the Syrian regime and the opposition. The article goes on to highlight the guidelines and principles of the political transition and the results of the subsequent rounds of political talks, which didn’t yield a conclusive outcome because of the unfavorable conditions on the ground and the ongoing offensive of the government forces against the opposition groups. Then, the article analyzes the peace efforts undertaken under the leadership of the countries engaged to the greatest extent with the events on the ground – Russia, Turkey and Iran, and summarizes the results achieved at the meetings held in Astana in order to negotiate conditions for the cessation of military operations and the launch of a peace dialogue between the regime and the opposition. The article emphasizes upon the meeting of 3-4 May 2017, when a memorandum was signed on creating four De-escalation Zones in the territories controlled by the opposition, and underlines the importance of the next meeting, when decisions were made to establish a trilateral coordination centre for combined operations in the zones and to convene a Syrian Congress of the National Dialogue in January 2018 in Sochi. Finally, the article concludes that the political settlement requires a balance between the geopolitical objectives of the outside factors involved and the power ambitions of the internal players and argues that the outcome of the negotiations depends mainly on the situation on the ground.
Keywords: conflict, Syria, negotiations, peace process.
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