South Asia Center Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin interviews newly-appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne Patterson about the Geneva II Syria peace talks and other major issues going on in the Middle East for Al-Monitor:
Al-Monitor: The Geneva II conference on Syria doesn’t seem to have achieved very much.
Patterson: It’s only five days into it today. It’s supposed to go a week on, a week off and then come back to Geneva. … Let’s give Brahimi some credit. He’s a very experienced senior diplomat and let’s see what he can do. No one expected results at first. The opposition got there more unified than we thought and the Turks and the Qataris pulled them together.
Al-Monitor: But do they really speak for the people in Syria?
Patterson: We’ll see. They need to expand the scope of their reach in their delegation. [But their remarks to the conference] were well-received. [Compared to Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem], the opposition looked like a model of restraint.