The European Union’s chief negotiator, Javier Solana, visited Syria today to discuss the EU’s new emphasis on diplomacy with the Ba’athist dictatorship:
Solana and Assad discussed bolstering links between Syria and the European Union and they agreed “to pursue consultations on regional and international issues,” official news agency SANA said.
“Syrian-European ties continue to make progress,” Solana said, according to SANA. He voiced hope that both sides might next year sign an “association” agreement.
In many ways, this appears to be right on track with Senator’s Obama’s take on diplomacy. Even with Syrian troops massing on Lebanon’s borders, the EU is still attempting to bolster ties with Bashar Assad’s government.
In some ways, this diplomacy appears to be at the right time, as Syria has begun indirect talks with Israel, but they come with almost no preconditions. In this manner, Syria is able to meddle in both Syria and Iraq but will still be able to talk with the EU. In addition, the United States will likely also legitimize the Assad regime, with the Syrian FM most likely coming to Washington next year.
The success in this strategy will come if Obama and Europe will be able to determine sticks and not just carrots. The carrot-with-limited-stick strategy did not work to end Iran or North Korea’s nuclear program, so expectations of using the same strategy with Syria cannot be predestined as a success.