The result of many long months and late-night talks
Barbara Plett Usher, BBC News: The war in Syria: Behind the scenes at the US-Russia talks in Geneva
How do you cut a deal on military co-operation with a country you see as an existential threat?
That is how US generals characterise Russia: it is the starkest version of those "gaps of trust" President Barack Obama blamed for holding up a ceasefire deal on Syria.
And that mistrust helps explain the puzzling, even bizarre twists and turns of the week that finally ended in an agreement between the rival powers.
We now know, of course, what the deal is: the promise of joint US-Russian military action against Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front (recently renamed Jabhet Fateh al-Shams) and so-called Islamic State, which is important to Moscow.
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WNU Editor: These talks were not easy .... and for all sides. And while I have never been involved directly on this level, I have been involved in a few international discussions/talks .... and I can say from personal experience that they can be emotionally exhausting. The one that I will never forget was in China in 1988 where I was helping a Russian company put together a joint-venture with the Chinese. The talks were in their second day .... and I was completely burnt out. Too much eating, drinking, talking, debating, arguing, etc. .... it was too much .... I just crashed on the floor in the corner late in the afternoon and I let the two main heads of their respective companies work out their differences. A few hours later they woke me up telling me that they had come to an agreement. I guess they felt sorry for me .... and decided to speed up everything so that I could go back to my home. :)
As for these U.S. - Russian talks on Syria ... I have been told that both Kerry and Lavrov have a good working relationship ... and that while Kerry needed to inform Washington on what was happening, Lavrov was given a lot of latitude from the Kremlin to make a deal. I personally was surprised when this deal was announced .... I was predicting a failure. But that fact that at least something was agreed upon is a testament to both Kerry's and Lavrov's commitment to work together ..... even when the odds are against you and the prospects for success are dim.