News / Middle East

Ban: Syria Talks Need More Seriousness, Urgency

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gives his speech during the annual Munich Security Conference, Feb. 1, 2014.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gives his speech during the annual Munich Security Conference, Feb. 1, 2014.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Syria's government and its political opponents should bring greater seriousness and urgency to international efforts to end their conflict. Their first round of talks ended Friday with little progress on how to end the fighting or increase humanitarian access.

Ban Ki-moon says the first round of Syrian talks shows that progress will be difficult and the process itself is hard-going, but at least it is a start.

"The parties may still be fighting. But now they are also talking. This is the only hope for a political solution," he said.

When talks resume February 10, Ban says President Bashar al-Assad's government and its opponents must both bring a new attitude.

"They should come with more sense of honestness as well as seriousness and urgency," he said. "The negotiations must not be used as a tactic to delay the end of fighting. There is no military solution to this crisis."

Ban and the joint special representative Lakhdar Brahimi met late Friday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the talks. They are all in Munich for an international security conference.

Ban says he urged both the United States and Russia to use their influence to ensure that the peace process continues. Russia is an ally of the government in Damascus. The United States backs Assad opponents.

Kerry says he is working with Lavrov to keep the Assad government engaged in the peace process.

"There are powerful feelings for why we believe Assad needs to feel even more sense of urgency to come to the table," he said.

Lavrov says there is much pressure on Moscow to influence Damascus. But, speaking through a interpreter, he said Russia can not accomplish anything on its own if those supporting the opposition do not do the same.

"We are putting daily pressure on the Syrian government. It is in a very difficult situation. And to try to convince a government which is waging a war to make some gestures is a very difficult task. You know what I'm talking about," he said.

Lavrov says the political opposition at these talks is too narrowly drawn from groups with little popular support on the ground. Speaking through a different interpreter, he said the key to success is to make the talks truly representative.

"All those influencing the opposition should do their best for the delegations at the negotiating table to represent the whole spectrum of Syrian society," he said.

Brahimi says there was some progress in getting humanitarian aid to the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, home to thousands of Palestinians who have been residents in Syria since before the civl war there began. However, Brahimi said there was no movement to report on efforts to get aid shipments into the city of Homs, or on a prisoner exchange between the Syrian government and rebels. "The gaps between the sides remain wide," he says, "there is no use pretending otherwise."

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JR from: São Paulo, Brazil
February 02, 2014 2:25 PM
For me it is clear that Assad intents to smash the oponents with no mercy, and those talkings about peace, or something like that, are only to gain time to accomplish his aim, and Russia acts to him get it.

by: Maithe from: Paris, France
February 01, 2014 5:40 PM
Poor Mr Ban Ki-moon ! It's not easy being the UN Secretary-General....
Of course everybody will agree with you: Syria talks need more seriousness and urgency. But where is THE solution ? Asking the US and Russia to "solve" the problem ?? Difficult as far as they both take sides (along with other countries).
Syria needs action and no more talks. People are dying. Hurry up Mr Ban.


by: MikeBarnett from: USA
February 01, 2014 3:25 PM
The two sides in the Syrian Civil War have been shooting and shelling each other for nearly three years. It is likely to be difficult to make each side forget the suffering that they have received during the course of the conflict. Both sides believe that they are on the "right" side in this war. The Syrian conflict has a religious element because Sunnis claim that the Shia and Alawites are unbelievers, creating another force for intransigence. The foreign fighters and the foreign supporters of both sides create another complicating set of forces. This has been the first set of meetings. There will be others.

The US should watch, wait, and encourage continued negotiations without taking sides. The first danger of taking sides is that the US backed side could lose. The second danger of taking sides is that the US backed side could win. No national leader wants to take US "orders" and will likely make closer relationships with countries that the US opposes to prove his independence and to prevent the US from removing him at a later date.

by: ted savage from: tennessee united states
February 01, 2014 2:50 PM
I understand Mr Ban and others wanting for both sides to try to get solution agreed to that will end this bloodshed. But, there will be no solution found because the first thing the rebels insist in is that the President leaves office and the first thing the government says is that him leaving is not an option. So, these talks are simply useless.

by: joe m from: new york
February 01, 2014 10:19 AM
Syria s. Dictatorship will not budge an inch until Russia and Iran s. Weapons are stopped. Powder keg. Is now in place.
In Response

by: MAHESWAR DEKA from: ASSAM.INDIA
February 01, 2014 11:02 PM
Syrian regime led by Assad is ardently supported by both Russia and Iran.Russia has some economic benefits in keeping good relations with Syria.Iran' support is for religion and its own interest too. In this situation, Syria' President will not resign.On the other hand, opposition will continue their struggle unless l President Assad resigns.This is the dilemma.And the dilemma has caused enough trouble to millions off Syrians.Both Assad and the opposition have no sympathy over the plights of the common Syrian people.Only God knows when Syrian tussle will be settled

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs