US 'Marginal Player in Syria' - Former Ambassador

© AP Photo / Khalid MohammedUS flag waves while displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community cross the Syria-Iraq border on Feeshkhabour bridge over Tigris River at Feeshkhabour border point, northern Iraq
US flag waves while displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community cross the Syria-Iraq border on Feeshkhabour bridge over Tigris River at Feeshkhabour border point, northern Iraq - Sputnik International
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Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the United States does not have the leverage to influence the recent Russian-Iranian peace proposal for Syria.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — The United States does not have the leverage to influence the recent Russian-Iranian peace proposal for Syria, former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford told Sputnik on Monday.

“We [the United States] are a marginal player in Syria,” Ford said of the possible US role in a renewed Syria peace proposal backed by Iran and Russia.

Last Wednesday, Iran announced it would introduce a resolution to the United Nations aimed at resolving the four-year civil war in Syria. The resolution currently has the backing of Russia and Syria.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry stated that the peace proposal would include an immediate cease-fire, the formation of a national unity government, increased protection for Syrian minorities, and a roadmap for future internationally-monitored elections.

Ford noted that he does not see the three-party peace proposal succeeding, because “neither Iran nor Russia have signalled that they are willing to put pressure on [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad to step aside for transitional unity government.”

A fighter from Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front holds his group flag as he stands in front of the governor building in Idlib province, north Syria. - Sputnik International
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Without a guaranteed removal of Assad, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Syrian armed opposition will not likely accept the proposal, because they will have “zero confidence” in a deal negotiated with the Assad regime, Ford noted.

Asked about the US role in such peace negotiations, Ford explained that the United States “cannot deliver” support from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Syrian opposition.

“Washington thinks it is very important. It may be on many issues, but on Syria it is a marginal player,” Ford said.

According to Iranian media reports, Iranian Foreign Ministry representatives held meetings last week with high-level diplomatic officers from Turkey and Oman, likely discussing the proposal for Syria.

Russian and Saudi Arabian officials will be discussing the situation in Syria during meetings in Moscow on Tuesday, according to a Monday statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russia has hosted two rounds of preliminary discussions between the Syrian government and opposition forces over the past year in an attempt to reach a diplomatic resolution to the ongoing Syrian civil war.

In 2011, anti-government forces and the Syrian army begun violent clashes. Western countries, as well as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have sponsored anti-government groups, many of which are Islamic extremists, in efforts to remove Assad from power.

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