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Without minimizing for a moment those things dividing Washington and Moscow over Syria, there is at least agreement in principle on three fundamental points: All-Syrian peace negotiations in Geneva should focus on United Nations-mandated political transition leading to democracy and pluralism; a "cessation of hostilities" in western Syria should boost these negotiations by suppressing violence; and reduced mayhem should allow the rapid delivery of humanitarian aid to desperately needy Syrians as demanded by multiple Security Council resolutions.No one will accuse Secretary of State John Kerry of not doing his best with little or no leverage to rectify a situation for which the word appalling hardly suffices. He is trying to persuade Moscow to deliver Assad to a process that could produce a consensus, mutually agreed transitional governing body capable of uniting Syrians against Daesh (ISIS), the elimination of which remains the Obama administration's top priority in Syria. If Moscow is not at ease with Assad's behavior, what will it do about it?Assad may be doing what he does with the full consent of Moscow.
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