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Tillerson Offers Opening to Russia on Further Cooperation in Syria

July 6, 2017 (EIRNS)—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, before he left for Germany, yesterday issued a statement on the Syria situation which seems to be an opening to cooperation with Russia on bringing stability to the war-torn country.

"The United States and Russia certainly have unresolved differences on a number of issues, but we have the potential to appropriately coordinate in Syria in order to produce stability and serve our mutual security interests,"

he said.

"The United States is prepared to explore the possibility of establishing with Russia joint mechanisms for ensuring stability, including no-fly zones, on the ground ceasefire observers, and coordinated delivery of humanitarian assistance. If our two countries work together to establish stability on the ground, it will lay a foundation for progress on the settlement of Syria’s political future."

That opening is weakened, however, by the statement’s continuation of elements of the false narrative about Syria that characterized the previous administration’s policy towards Syria. Tillerson said, for example, that the United States believes that Russia,

"as a guarantor of the Assad regime and an early entrant into the Syrian conflict, has a responsibility to ensure that the needs of the Syrian people are met and that no faction in Syria illegitimately re-takes or occupies areas liberated from ISIS’s or other terrorist groups’ control."

It’s not clear whether or not the word "faction" includes the Syrian government, but if it does, it’s tantamount to saying that the Syrian government has no right to re-occupy its own sovereign territory that had been previously occupied by illegal armed groups.