UN envoy hails US-Russia deal on Syria as 'hopeful news'

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The U.S. has long been at odds with Russia over its support for the Assad regime, which has included blocking sanctions against Syria at the U.N. U.S. intelligence assessments that chemical weapons have been used in Syria — crossing President Obama's “red line” — has increased pressure on Russia to abandon its support for Assad.

Kerry said there has been a “perception” that the U.S. and Russia “haven't been particularly on the same page of cooperating in this effort.” He said both parties have agreed not to rule Assad's participation in a future Syria but leave that up to the Syrians themselves.

“There’s actually more agreement even though our position has been that it’s impossible for me as an individual to understand how Syria could possibly be governed in the future by the man who has committed the things that we know have taken place,” Kerry said. “But that’s not – I’m not going to decide that tonight. And I’m not going to decide that in the end.”

Brahimi, who has repeatedly threatened to quit his role because of a lack of progress, said he hoped the other three members with veto power at the U.N. – China, Britain and France – would get behind the U.S. and Russia.

“There is every reason to expect the three other permanent members of the Security Council as a whole and indeed all the Security Council members to work together amongst themselves and with the Secretary-General to carry the process forward,” he said. “Naturally the Syrians themselves — all the Syrians — will occupy pride of place in the process that should be launched as early as possible. It is equally important that the entire region mobilizes in the support of the process.”