Former leader of the United Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Mikhail Gorbachev, is calling on presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump to hold diplomatic talks on Syria.
“Return to sanity,” Gorbachev said, imploring the United States and Russia to set up a summit to address the matter.
“I am sure no one wants war, but in the current febrile atmosphere could lead to great trouble, and ordinary people are not yet aware of the threat hanging over them,” the ex-USSR leader warned the two heads of state that any clash could result in warfare.
He added that Trump and Putin should defuse the escalating situation because “such incidents could result in a huge disaster in the current tense environment.”
“I am very alarmed,” Gorbachev, who is the last USSR leader, told Interfax news agency.
“The situation hasn’t been this bad in a long time, and I am very disappointed in how world leaders are behaving themselves. We see evidence of an inability to use diplomatic mechanisms. International politics has turned into exchanges of accusations, sanctions, and even military strikes.”
Gorbachev received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 partly for hosting summits – with presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush – which helped to end the Cold War.
“Because Russia and the U.S. are at the sharp end of the current crisis, their leaders must meet. They need to meet half-way, for a day or two of serious negotiations with involvement from foreign and defense ministers,” Gorbachev explained.
Gorbachev said he is "deeply disappointed with the way current leaders are doing business,” pointing at their “inability to engage in a dialogue and use diplomatic mechanisms.”