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US must scrap Syria regime change plan, analyst says

The United States must stop insisting on a regime change in Syria if it wants to reach a deal with Russia to effect peace in the Arab country, an analyst suggests.

In a phone interview with Press TV on Monday, James Jatras, a former diplomat and adviser at the US Senate Republican leadership, said failure to reach a deal on the Syria crisis following myriads of meetings between Russian and US officials is “hardly surprising.”

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, on Monday to come to an agreement over the situation in the war-ravaged Muslim country, but to no avail.

Obama spoke of “grave differences with the Russians in terms of both the parties we support but also the process that is required to bring about peace in Syria.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov have also been holding meetings one after another for the past three months, yet have remained at odds.

According to Jatras, one of the main differences is related to the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

“What is the future of Syria? The United States insists on regime change; Assad must go, and of course, the Russians are not going to accept that,” said the Washington-based analyst, voicing pessimism about “any kind of agreement that can be reached between the two sides as long as the Obama administration insists on an unrealistic and frankly illegitimate goal of regime change.”

As more meetings are set to be held over the five-year-old crisis, Jatras said, currently, the decisions are based on “military realities not on an agreement between Washington and Moscow.”

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

The Syrian army has vowed to press ahead with its counter-terror operations and drive terrorists out of their major positions.

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