News / Middle East

Biden Tells Iran to Get Serious about Talks

US Vice President Joe Biden gestures during his speech at the Security Conference in Munich, February 2, 2013.US Vice President Joe Biden gestures during his speech at the Security Conference in Munich, February 2, 2013.
x
US Vice President Joe Biden gestures during his speech at the Security Conference in Munich, February 2, 2013.
US Vice President Joe Biden gestures during his speech at the Security Conference in Munich, February 2, 2013.
Al Pessin
U.S. Vice president Joe Biden says the four-year-old offer of direct negotiations with Iran is still valid, if the country's top leader is ready for serious talks that are not held in secret. He also called on Iran to take a good faith approach in negotiations with the international contact group known as the P5+1.   Biden spoke at a security conference in Germany.

Vice president Biden told the gathering of senior officials from around the world the United States is still ready for direct talks with Iran.

“That offer stands, but it must be real and tangible and there has to be an agenda that they are prepared to speak to," he said. "We are not just prepared to do it for the exercise.”

Biden said the United States will not hold such talks without informing its allies.

The vice president also called on Iran to take a more constructive approach in its talks with the international contact group of the five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany.

“There is still time, there is still space for diplomacy, backed by pressure, to succeed," he said. "The ball is in the government of Iran's court. And it's well past time for Tehran to adopt a serious, good faith approach to negotiations with the P5+1.”

Biden also pledged continuing U.S. support for Syria's opposition, and said President Bashar al-Assad is “no longer fit” to lead his country, and "he must go."

At the same conference session, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said such a condition is not acceptable, and said the agreed-upon Geneva process for Syria must be followed, including talks among all parties. He also rejected a suggestion from an audience member for the creation of a humanitarian corridor in Syria, enforced by international air power.

“On the humanitarian corridors with close air support, no," he said. "Any use of force, any threat of the use of force will be unacceptable because the situation on the ground requires not more military assets but immediate cease-fire and immediate end of violence.”

Lavrov indicated Russia is concerned that any United Nations authorization for military operations in Syria, even for humanitarian purposes, will result in wider involvement, which is what Russia believes happened with the U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya.

He also said Russia would not accept any use of chemical weapons in Syria. But Lavrov said he is confident the country's chemical weapons are safe in the hands of the Assad government, and that the only danger of their use is if they come into the possession of opposition forces.

Western nations and Israel are concerned that the weapons could either be used by the Assad forces or given to Hezbollah in Lebanon. This week, Israel bombed what it said was a chemical weapons convoy preparing to head for Lebanon, but Syria denies the claim.

The security conference in Munich is an annual high-level event. Vice president Biden used it to renew U.S. support for its European allies, and to try to reassure them that the increased American interest in relations with Asia is not a threat to Europe, and indeed will be good for the continent. He expressed confidence that the United States and China can compete economically and disagree on some issues without becoming enemies.

He also said that in the State of the Union speech next week, President Barack Obama will outline U.S. foreign policy priorities, including nonproliferation, fighting climate change, enhanced development initiatives, efforts to reduce trade barriers, support for democracies around the world and a push for peace in the Middle East.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JohnWV from: USA
February 03, 2013 3:00 PM
Israel has ICBM nukes and openly threatens Iran, actually campaigns for war against Iran. Israel, not Iran, is the warmonger. Resolution lies with lifting all sanctions and compensating Iran for damages from the $$$ billions we will no longer be giving the Jewish state. An Iran with nukes would disrupt the Jewish state's brutish pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and apartheid empire. With balanced Iran-Israel hegemony, Mideast peace may actually be possible.

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 03, 2013 9:00 AM
This is a great disappointment that Russia has once again refused to address the issue of humanitarian relief corridors, to provide immediate relief to the Syrian civilians trapped in the conflict with out much, if any, humanitarian help; especially those civilians trapped on the opposition side of the conflict, which are mostly Sunni Muslims. I hope that all of humanity takes notice of the lack of concern/response of the Russians to provide relief to the suffering civilians in a very one-sided conflict. At a future time, when the people of Syria and beyond, take stock of their human loses, it should be absolutely clear and documented that Russia refused to allow for the provision of humanitarian help corridors. Once again it show that the Pres. Obama's administrations, and even the EU is trying to help ease the suffering of civilians, especially Sunni Muslims, in this deadly conflict. The Arab league should take full notice of this situation, and make it well known to its people; I am sure that the West will not give its efforts to help in this humanitarian crisis. This is a tremendous let down on the part of the Russians; they forget the suffering of the Russian people in Stalingrad WWII, much of Syria looks like the city of the Russian heroes; very sad response from the Russian gvmt.

by: AE from: Texas
February 02, 2013 5:58 PM
If the US were serious about a negatiated settlement with Iran, they would offer meaningful sanctions relief. One on one talks would make no sense if the offer on the table is used aircraft tires for Iran to stop, shut and ship. Who in their right mind would accept such an offer?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs