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Tillerson laid basis in Moscow talks for better US-Russia cooperation on Syria

Sputnik | Updated: 2017-04-20 16:56

WASHINGTON — The talks Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov laid the basis for improved US-Russian cooperation on Syria, analysts told Sputnik.

"This meeting seems to have put things on a more peaceful track. We can all applaud that," professor of neuroscience and political commentator John Walsh said. "Definitely the outcome of the talks with Tillerson, Lavrov and Putin was much better than expected."

The talks established the ground work for cautious but improved collaboration between Moscow and Washington in seeking to resolve the six-year-long civil war in Syria that cost more than half a million lives and crated more than four million refugees, Walsh said.

"The cooperation could range from joint military action to the much simpler one whereby the US pressures its allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar and perhaps Israel whose role is unclear to cease support of ISIS [the Islamic State, also known as Daesh]," he said.

Walsh also believed that Tillerson's visit paved the way for a visit by President Donald Trump to the Russian capital in the near future.

"I think the prospects for that have vastly improved and we should all be thankful for that… Let us hope we are now on track again for Detente 2.0," he said.

Australian foreign policy analyst Crispin Rovere agreed that the outcome of the Moscow talks was better than expected and pointed to improved superpower cooperation on Syria.

"It was a positive result: There was speculation that President Putin would not meet with Secretary Tillerson, yet there was a productive meeting between them lasting for two hours. Russia has agreed to reinstate protocols for military cooperation in Syria," he said.

Rovere pointed to other substantial progress on the diplomatic front in dealing with the crisis as a result of the talks.

"Bilateral working groups are being established to address barriers to bilateral ties, and both sides agreed that an investigation into the alleged Syrian gas attack should be conducted by the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons]," he said.

Rovere also expressed optimism that Trump and Tillerson recognized the need to build mutual trust between their nations.

"What the Trump administration realizes is that the problem is trust and not some irreconcilable differences in world-view between the two powers. If trust improves there is no reason why a genuine partnership should not emerge," he explained.

Improved relations would benefit both nations on a wide range of issues, Rovere predicted.

"The upside in terms of defense cooperation, cyberspace, arms control, trade, investment, and regional stability stemming from a warmer US-Russia relationship is literally endless. Most immediately, the US and Russia should work on a pathway leading to the easing of sanctions," Rovere said.

Tillerson's visit to Moscow "augurs well" for a future meeting between Trump and Putin, Rovere concluded.

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