05:07 GMT +321 February 2019
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    Why Russia, US Could Still Cooperate in 'Untangling the Syrian Knot'

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    Russia and the US have agreed to introduce a ceasefire in southwestern Syria. Political analyst Oleg Matveychev suggested that Washington could cooperate with Moscow to resolve the Syrian crisis.

    United States President Donald Trump said he was satisfied with the implementation of a ceasefire in southwestern Syria.

    "Syrian ceasefire seems to be holding. Many lives can be saved. Came out of meeting. Good!" Trump said on Twitter.

    The US president did not specify what meeting he meant. The ceasefire was announced on Friday following the talks between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the US, Russia and Jordan reached an agreement on a ceasefire in southwestern Syria.

    "They agreed a memorandum on the establishment of a de-escalation zone in southwestern Syria – in Daraa, Quneitra and Suwayda provinces," Lavrov told journalists.

    The ceasefire came into force on Sunday at noon Damascus time (09:00 GMT). Washington and Moscow have committed themselves to ensuring the implementation of the ceasefire.

    In addition, Lavrov said that Russia, the US and Jordan have agreed to establish a joint center in Amman to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire.

    In an interview with Radio Sputnik, Oleg Matveychev, a political analyst and professor at the Russian Higher School of Economics, suggested that the US presidential administration could start cooperating with Moscow on a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

    "Of course, Trump’s hands are tied by Congress, by the Democrats and by the press. But if there is the will and understanding that there is no alternative [to cooperation] Russia and the US could slowly move towards the untangling of this knot. It cannot be cut, only untangled," Matveychev said.

    At the same time, the expert pointed out that there should be no inflated expectations over Washington’s capability to influence the situation.

    "The point is that the Americans are not as omnipotent as they may seem. They cannot easily control militants in Syria. But now Syrian militants are disoriented by the new ceasefire. It is very difficult for them to carry out new attacks," Matveychev said.

    Earlier, Lavrov said that Moscow would welcome Washington’s more active participation in the Astana talks on the Syrian settlement.

    "By and large, the doors for our cooperation on the further development of the de-escalation zones concept are open," Lavrov said.

    According to the minister, Russia and the US will continue cooperating on the enforcement of a de-escalation zone agreement in southwestern Syria.


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