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

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid