It's still almost a week left to President-elect Donald Trump's Inauguration as the 45th President of the United States of America, but could it be that in as far as Russia is concerned Trump is now effectively the President of the U.S.? Russia has reportedly invited Trump's team to participate in the upcoming Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan, completely bypassing the Obama administration in the process.
Russian ambassador to Washington Serge Kislyak reportedly extended the invitation for the Trump administration to attend the peace talks to incoming national security advisor Michael Flynn in a December 28 phone conversation.
Turkey, co-host of the peace talks with Russia said that Washington will be invited to participate in the talks to be held in the Kazakh capital Astana tentatively set on January 23, or just three days after the transition of power from Obama to Trump.
Moscow has yet to confirm the said invitation to Washington,while the outgoing administration more than hinted that any invitation should be still coursed through them, as State Department Mark Toner said that if an invite arrives, they will certainly "make a recommendation to Trump's incoming administration to honor it".
The talks on Syria's future and the prospects for peace were announced late last month after a nationwide ceasefire was secured. This year would mark the first time that peace talks are being organized without the involvement of Washington, should the U.S. not participate at all. The U.S. in the recent years had led all the international discussions to resolve the Syrian crisis.
Iran is also involved in organizing the talks, being an ally of Syrian President Bashar al- Assad. Russia, a crucial Assad ally, has said it is interested in the broadest possible representation of the parties who can all be key to paving the way to an end of the almost 6-year conflict.
The Astana talks may likely set the tone and serve as a preamble to the next round of peace negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition in Geneva to be held on February 8 under the guidance of the United Nations.