Caabu letter in the Evening Standard on why the Syria talks must succeed

Posted by on 12 Feb 2014

The Syria talks must succeed.

Published in the Evening Standard Tuesday 11 February 2014

Chris Doyle

As talks enter a second round, the Geneva conference on Syria must develop into a meaningful process. It could benefit from less media attention with reduced opportunities for parties to grandstand. Confidence-building measures such as prisoner swaps are vital. The ceasefire in Homs is far from this: a very limited number of civilians have effectively been evicted, leaving the rest to face the consequences.

All global players, starting with the US and Russia, must agree a common strategy. Directly or indirectly, Iran has to be brought into discussions and a far broader Syrian presence should be at the talks. Admittedly this is a distant prospect but only a plan that includes all interested Syrians will stand a chance of ending the conflict.

Too many parties still believe their side can emerge on top. Only when they grasp that this approach is not only unrealistic but devastating to Syria might they adopt the conflict resolution mindset so far absent. Hopefully this will happen sooner rather than later - millions of Syrians cannot afford more delays.