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

Ebola Brings Sickness, Fear, Anger

Cornell University Professor Stacey Langwick considers cultural, social aspects of outbreak More

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Violent Quarantine Clashes Hamper Liberia's Struggle to Contain Ebola

Anger, misinformation and mistrust of government hampering efforts to contain the deadly virus More

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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid