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The art of the deal in Helsinki

A win-win on Syria is there for the taking by leveraging Putin’s relationship with Iran.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1E7D8D2110

hen US President Donald Trump meets his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki on July 16, a deal on Syria could be closed in good order, to the benefit of both countries, and most importantly, the people of Syria, who are thirsting for an end to the war. In this score, Trump can win by building on Putin’s diplomatic table setting between Israel, Iran and other key regional players.

Fyodor Lukyanov writes, “Trump would be willing to say that there's no threat to Israel from Syria and that Putin will help drive Iran away from the Israeli border. This is what his electorate should hear. And it can be achieved thanks to long efforts to marry the security interests of Iran and Israel in Syria, with neither Trump nor other US representatives being the main protagonists. On the contrary, the key players include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Putin — who have a high level of trust between them — as well as representatives of the Syrian government and top Iranian officials. Contacts are apparently indirect and delicate, with no formal arrangements possible.”

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