Is it possible to make a deal with the US? You went through very complex and lengthy negotiations with US Secretary of State John Kerry, and agreements were reached.

The Pentagon is now bombing the Syrian army and several dozen people were killed.

How can an agreement be reached against this backdrop? Reaching agreement is not easy, and making sure that an agreement that had been reached is actually implemented is even harder.

Regarding Syria, this is like a chronic disease.

For example, back in June 2012, just over one year after the start of the so-called Arab Spring, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was asked to try and find a way out of the crisis.

He devised a plan, called the Kofi Annan six-point peace plan.

Russia supported this plan, while the West made a wry face and refused to review it.

We had to go to great lengths to convene a meeting in Geneva, bringing together the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the key Arab countries and Turkey as well as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in an attempt to make progress on the issue.

We succeeded in adopting the so-called Geneva Communique, which is attributable for the most part to our direct contact with then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

We adopted the communique on June 30, 2012 after negotiations that lasted for many hours.

It took us two days to fulfil Russia’s commitment under the document to have Syrian President Bashar al-Assad approve the document.

Days and weeks went by and neither the US nor the other Western or Arab countries were able to convince the opposition to do the same.

Russia wanted the UN Security Council to approve the Russia-US arrangement and a broader understanding that was reached by adopting a resolution to this effect, but the US refused to do so, saying that the agreement would not be enough, and that it fails to mention the demand for Bashar al-Assad to step down or threaten sanctions in case he does not.

We replied that this was not part of the deal, as the text we had adopted was quite clear and concise.

We did not receive any intelligible answer back then.

However, more than a year later, in the fall of 2013, when the effort to rid Syria of chemical weapons got underway at the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Russia persuaded Syria to join the Chemical Weapons Convention, only then were we able to have the UN Security Council approve the Geneva Communique by referring to it in a resolution regarding the Russia-US arrangement on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons.

This drama continued with the recent agreements drafted by Russia and the US as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG).

The first obligation envisaged by this deal was to separate the terrorists from the moderate opposition with whom the US coalition works.

This provision has yet to be fulfilled despite the fact that back in February 2016 they said they could do it in two weeks or so.

The obligation to unblock Castello Road to provide safe humanitarian access to Eastern Aleppo was set forth in great detail in the Russia-US agreement, including specific distances for withdrawing government troops and opposition forces.

Again, the US said that it was unable to honour this obligation because the opposition was not listening to them.

And there are many other examples like this.

It seems that it is for the very reason that the US was unable to fulfil its commitments regarding the withdrawal of forces along Castello Road that they decided to withdraw from these agreements or suspend them, if not slam the door on them.

They chose to present the situation differently.

In fact, there was a specific reason behind this failure: they undertook an obligation to make the opposition retreat by fifteen hundred metres.

The government troops were withdrawing, but the opposition tried to take over the vacated territory immediately.

However, instead of admitting the specific cause that resulted in the failure of the agreements, the US opted for an abstract explanation.

They argued that Russia was unwilling to put an end to hostilities that inflict suffering on civilians.

They argued that Russia was unwilling to put an end to hostilities that inflict suffering on civilians.

We are used to this kind of rhetoric, so we keep working at it.

Is the US unable to live up to its commitments, especially with regards to working with the moderate opposition and the opposition as such, or does it have some other objectives? Is it perhaps that the Americans have nothing to gain from stabilising Syria? I think all of this is present in the US position.

This position is “patchy” all over: there are many different groups pursuing different agendas.

Do you mean they have no strategy? There are some who favour a return to the Russian-American agreements.

Let me mention parenthetically that this group managed to have its way on not dissolving the ISSG established by Russia and the United States.

Moreover, its subgroups met in Geneva yesterday.

As is common knowledge, the Russian-American ISSG has two task subgroups: one on humanitarian issues and the other on monitoring the cessation of hostilities and investigating violations.

There is a group in Washington that favours not only diplomatic methods but also use-of-force options.

It was leaked [to the media] that a cruise missile attack on Syrian airfields could well ground the Syrian air force.

The Russian General Staff has reacted promptly to this.

These are very dangerous schemes, given that Russia, being in Syria at the invitation of its legitimate government and having two bases there – an air base in Khmeimim and a naval facility in Tartus – has also air defence weapons to protect these facilities.

We can clearly see that the majority of the US military understand the need to be guided by reason rather than by emotion or passing fits of aggressiveness.

In other words, we do not see an overall strategy.

This is clear in many ways, including the US and the US-led coalition’s attitude to Jabhat al-Nusra.

They attack ISIS, but this only became more common after the Russian Aerospace Forces started operating in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government.

The frequency and effectiveness of sorties are incomparable.

US bombers often return to the Incirlik Air Base or some other base they use with their bomb load intact.

Thus the frequency of sorties is maintained but their efficiency is very low, being no higher than 15 to 20 per cent, by some estimates.

We turned the spotlight on the fact that even this “sparing” treatment of ISIS seemed fairly intense by comparison with how they approached Jabhat al-Nusra that was not attacked at all.

I asked Secretary of State John Kerry if they had an ulterior motive to keep this terrorist group alive and take the heat off it in order to make it the main force tasked with toppling President Bashar Assad at some later stage.

He swore adamantly that this was not so and that they were fighting against it.

I think that it was these conversations that compelled the Americans to declare that they had, pardon me, “knocked off” a Jabhat al-Nusra leader the other day.

This was an absolutely isolated action.

We don’t see any actual evidence implying a serious fight against Jabhat al-Nusra.

They make us suspicious by their calls for Russian aircraft and the Syrian air force to stop overflying Aleppo because there were many members of the moderate opposition on the ground aside from Jabhat al-Nusra, the main force, and these people allegedly had no one to “lean towards” but this terrorist group.

We shouldn’t hurt Nusra, they say, because this would be inhumane towards the “normal guys” from the opposition; we will combat Nusra later.

But this “later” never comes.

They promised to separate the “normal guys” from Jabhat al-Nusra back in February.

This is a vicious circle that can’t be broken.

The goal of separating the “good guys” from Jabhat al-Nusra is clear.

But who thought of the idea of bombing the Syrian armed forces’ airfields? I heard the idea was proposed in Washington.

Some anonymous sources have leaked information to the effect that the White House is planning to discuss different options, and that one of them allegedly concerned the bombing plans.