News / Middle East

    Annan Finds Mild Response in Russia on Syria

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with UN special envoy Kofi Annan in Moscow, July 17, 2012Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with UN special envoy Kofi Annan in Moscow, July 17, 2012
    x
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with UN special envoy Kofi Annan in Moscow, July 17, 2012
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with UN special envoy Kofi Annan in Moscow, July 17, 2012
    James Brooke
    MOSCOW — As fighting between rebels and government forces raged in the Syrian capital, U.N. envoy Kofi Annan held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Syria's crisis. The response from Syria-ally Russia was largely muted.

    But Putin vowed to support the peace effort in Syria. “We will do everything that depends on us to support your efforts,” the Russian leader said.

    Annan was in Moscow to line up support in advance of a vote Wednesday at the United Nations on extending the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria.

    The mandate expires on Friday. And with street fighting taking place in Damascus, the future of the 300 cease-fire monitors may be in doubt.

    After meeting with Putin, Annan said he hopes common ground can be found.

    "Obviously, the discussions in the Security Council regarding the resolution also came up. And I would hope that the Council will continue its discussions and hopefully find language that will pull everybody together," Annan said.

    Russia supports a simple three-month extension of the observers' mandate. Western powers want language that could open the door to military action by outsiders.

    In Russia, that topic is taboo.

    Fyodor Lyukanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs magazine, says the Putin government will not budge.

    “There is a red line which Russia will never cross. I will say never. This is legitimization of any kind of outside intervention, military intervention in Syria,” Lyukanov said.

    For the 16 months of Syria’s uprising, Russia has stood out as the closest ally of the increasingly isolated nation.

    But as Moscow digested news of heavy fighting in Damascus, Russian officials took a low profile.

    Russia 24, the state-run all news channel, showed no photo of Putin meeting with Annan. Instead, the channel aired lengthy reports on the Russian president coordinating relief to victims of the last week’s flooding in southern Russia.

    Separately, a Russian ship carrying refurbished helicopters for Syria took an inexplicable detour to St. Petersburg, adding extra days to its route to the Mediterranean.

    Also silent was Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who on Monday gave a lengthy press conference on Syria.

    He told reporters that Russia’s influence in Syria is overestimated. He said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not leaving power because he retains substantial popular support.

    The Russian foreign minister stressed that Russia was acting on principle -  the non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries.

    Lyukanov, the analyst agrees, saying that arm sales and Russia’s naval base at Tartus, Syria are minor issues.

    “How this conflict will be settled will serve as a model for future dealing with internal crisis situations in many countries. And that’s what Russia now considers to be important. It’s not about arms sales. It’s not about Tartus base. It’s not about anything else. It’s not about Assad,” Lyukanov said.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon headed Tuesday to China for talks with President Hu Jintao. China has joined Russia in vetoing Security Council resolutions calling for tough action against Syria.

    The official People's Daily newspaper ran a commentary Tuesday rejecting foreign intervention in the Syrian crisis.

    On Wednesday, the visitor to Moscow will be Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Although Turkey is coping with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, analysts here do not predict that he will be able to shift Russia’s hands-off policy.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Lаra
    July 18, 2012 9:26 AM
    Oh,Putin has already deserved a place next to Hitler in a fish bowl,I guess!

    by: john from: Taifa
    July 18, 2012 7:14 AM
    Putin must go, Putin must go, empty rhetoric, what about senator John McCain? He is also a left over of the Vietnam war which America lost miserably.
    In Response

    by: Mike
    July 18, 2012 2:11 PM
    John McCain is American Hero. It is a pity that he did not become U.S. president and was elected Obama - very weak and unintelligent president.
    McCain understands the nature of the regime of power in Russia, and he knows that Putin from KGB understands only the language of force.

    by: Anonymous
    July 18, 2012 3:10 AM
    Hey you at the Kremlin... Would you mind terribly if Nato or the West would just put an end of this unneeded terror by taking out Assad? Assad is destroying his own country, and people anyway (Which are no longer his...). Just let us deal with the cruel dictator and finish his cleansing once and for all, you can still park your ships there... Lets save some lives today, and live in harmony. What do you say Kremlin?

    by: FreedomLover from: USA
    July 17, 2012 8:51 PM
    Putin needs to go. He is a KGB left over from the cold war that Russia lost miserably. Putin will only destroy Russia. Putin needs a place next to Stalin in a fish bowl. Maybe Putin needs to take his shirt off again so everyone can see his scawney, hairless sunken chest.
    In Response

    by: Mike
    July 17, 2012 9:59 PM
    I agree with you completely. But Putin never voluntarily leave his royal position. This is a life-long dictator. In Russia there are no real elections and the majority of people are zombie of Putin's propaganda. So the change of regime in Russia will happen only through revolution. In the latest russian bloodshed would be guilty Putin and his friends from the KGB.

    by: beancube2010
    July 17, 2012 7:57 PM
    There is no tough action on Syria but on Al-Assad. UN sanctions using firepower against the butcher Al-Assad should not be based on those rebels but on the safety of unarmed civilians' lives. Both Assad and rebels are not genuine for peaceful reforms that ordinary Syrians are looking for. Both of them must be taken away. They are threatening neighbor's stabilities in the region as well. Russia have rights to do so as Syrian civilians demand.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora