‘Russian ambassador’s murder underscores need to end violence in Syria’ – former US diplomat

The ‘troika’ format of Russia, Turkey and Iran might be a good attempt at bringing peace to Syria, but without taking into account the interests of such “major players” as Saudi Arabia and the US, results are “difficult to achieve,” former US diplomat John Limbert told RT.

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RT: Both Russia and Turkey said that the ambassador's killing was aimed at damaging ties between the two nations. Who would benefit from that?

John Limbert: I don’t know who would benefit, and I don’t think there’s any basis for making a statement like that. But let me first give my condolences to the family of ambassador Karlov. I did not know him personally, but I’ve known many Russian diplomats during my career, and I’ve always found them professional, and we’re colleagues, whatever the stances of our countries are – we work together as colleagues.

Ambassador Karlov was doing what diplomats do, he was at an art gallery opening, he was with the people and unfortunately he was killed in the performance of his duties.

RT: Will the murder of Andrey Karlov impact the Syrian peace process in any way?

JL: I can’t say, but what I can say is that it underscores the need to end the violence in Syria and to end the suffering of the Syrian people. This has gone on long enough, it has created thousands of thousands of dead and injured, millions of refugees. If nothing else, it underscores the need for the suffering to end ... the Syrian people should be allowed to live in peace and security.

RT: That’s why top diplomats from Russia, Turkey and Iran met for talks on the peace process. Your thoughts on that format, do you think it’s going to work?

JL: Well, personally, of course I can’t speak for my government, but personally I would welcome anything that would end suffering and bring peace and security back to the wonderful Syrian people. On the other hand, the background of each of these countries, both Iran and Russia have been backing Bashar Assad in his brutal war against his own people.

As far as Turks are concerned they seem to have [prioritised] ... dealing with their Kurdish problem and made that more of a priority than reaching a satisfactory agreement in Syria. So each has its own particular interest to pursue. Will this lead to a settlement, or will this lead to something else? At this point I can’t say.

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RT: Is the ‘troika’ format going to be accepted by Western nations as they do try to bring peace to Syria, and as you’ve just said that anything that’s worth trying to get a lasting peace should be tried?

JL: I would certainly agree with you there, but the problem is that any formula that attempts to bring a settlement in Syria that excludes major players and people with interest, whether it’s Iran, whether it’s Turkey, whether it’s Saudi Arabia, whether it’s Jordan, whether it’s the United States. Whatever it is it is going to be very difficult to achieve. There has to be at least a consensus at some level that to end the suffering and restore peace and security to the Syrian people.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.