Efforts needed to ease global tensions

Wednesday, 2018-04-18 12:50:34
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A missile is seen crossing over Damacus, Syria on April 14, 2018. (Reuters)
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NDO – Many countries have agreed that establishing political dialogue is the only solution to finding a way out of the Syrian crisis after the recent series of air strikes deployed by the United States (US) and its allies aimed at the Middle East country. That every disagreement should be resolved through peaceful means based on international laws and the principle of respecting nations’ independence and sovereignty, is the common viewpoint shared by many nations regarding the complexity of the current situation in Syria.

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The tripartite attack on Syria has pushed relations between Russia and the West to a higher level of tension. However, shortly thereafter, a series of diplomatic events and urgent meetings of the UN Security Council were held to seek ways to tackle the crisis and prevent the escalating tensions from threatening peace and security in the Middle East region, which already has too many hot spots of conflict. The preference for dialogue is irreversible in an attempt to relieve tensions between countries. Despite strongly condemning the air strikes, Russia still expressed its willingness to improve ties with Western nations. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia would study the UN’s draft resolution on Syria as proposed by the US, France, and the UK, which called for the parties’ return to the Geneva negotiations, under the patronage of the UN, while launching an independent investigation into the claims concerning the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee for Foreign Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, affirmed that Moscow “controls the situation and has a clear-cut well-developed strategy for advancing Russia-US ties.” However, he stressed the need for the US side’s willingness to ensure such progress becomes a reality.

Many Western countries, including Germany, have acknowledged Russia’s leading role in resolving the Syrian crisis. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Russia and the West need to engage in dialogue to ease the tensions that have reached their highest level since the Cold War. In his view, the Syrian situation will not be improved until the US and Russia exert joint efforts in seeking solutions to the crisis.

The recent attacks by the US and its allies on Syria have been said to be more of a deterrent, as the reported damage from the air strikes was not seen as a serious blow. However, as the investigations by international watchdogs into the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria, have just been carried out, the air strikes have caused difficulties for the operations which aim to produce a fair and transparent conclusion to the incident. The Trump administration’s decision on military intervention in Syria has faced strong opposition right inside the US. Protests against the US-led air strikes were held in Los Angeles, Portland, New York, and Washington. The demonstrators called for peace and protested the war. British PM Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron also had to face the angry response of legislators in their countries regarding their decisions to join the US-led air strikes in Syria. Giving an explanation in front of the parliament, the UK PM said her peers were right to question her decision to join the campaign without parliamentary approval.

In France, the majority party of the bicameral legislature supporting the Government and the opposition party did not reach a common voice in the matter. The leaders of the right-wing, left-wing, and centre-left parties criticised the air strikes on Syria, stating that President Macron failed to give any evidence that the Syrian administration had used chemical weapons.

In other European countries, such as Greece and Cyprus, crowds of people also marched against the war. The demonstrators in Cyprus said the aggression of the US, the UK, and France toward Syria was unjustified, because there was no evidence showing that President Bashar al-Assad’s administration used chemical weapons. Protesters also condemned the use of the island nation in the eastern Mediterranean as a springboard for launching the attacks, as UK fighter aircraft took off from an airbase in Cyprus to launch attacks on the facilities suspected of manufacturing the chemical weapons used in Syria.

The powers’ deployment of new and modern military weapons in Syria and throughout the region, together with the unilateral military actions, have triggered concerns about the escalation of tensions in the Middle East. The international community calls for and hopes for successful diplomatic efforts in the aim of preventing tensions related to the Syrian crisis from being further exacerbated and threatening peace and security in the region.