Reports from Reuters today suggest that Russia is preparing a broad proposal for the next round of Vienna talks on Syria, looking to launch an 18-month reform program in the nation, including broad revisions to the constitution, and leading to a free election.
The document is said to envision a president with full control of the military and special forces, as well as foreign policy in the nation. The Russian government has denied the authenticity of the document, but did not deny that a reform plan was in the works.
Russia has long sought to get moderate rebel factions to join some sort of interim unity government, leading to reforms and a free election as a way to end the civil war without an internationally imposed regime change. The lack of regime change almost certainly means the US and Britain are going to oppose the plan, however.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond was already lashing the reform plan based merely on reports of what would be proposed, saying that there was no way to end the civil war without guarantees that President Bashar al-Assad would not be allowed to participate in future elections.
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