News / Middle East

    Biden to Focus on Syria During Europe Trip

    Vice President Joe Biden,  January 25, 2013.Vice President Joe Biden, January 25, 2013.
    x
    Vice President Joe Biden,  January 25, 2013.
    Vice President Joe Biden, January 25, 2013.
    Kent Klein
    The civil war in Syria will be a major topic when U.S. Vice President Joe Biden meets with leaders in three European nations, starting Friday.  Biden will visit Germany, France and Britain.   

    The main event of the vice president’s first overseas trip of his second term will be an address at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.  He also spoke at the conference shortly after the Obama administration took office four years ago.

    While in Munich, Biden will discuss the bloodshed in Syria with several officials, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

    President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told reporters Thursday the vice president will ask Lavrov for a clearer statement on Russia’s position on Syria.

    “What we would like to see from other countries, including Russia, is an acknowledgement that Bashar al-Assad must go and that there needs to be a transition within Syria to a new government," said Rhodes.

    Rhodes said the Syrian government has “completely failed to maintain its own domestic and international legitimacy."

    In Munich, Biden is also expected to discuss Syria with Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations and Arab League special representative for Syria, and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib.

    White House press secretary Jay Carney said the vice president will talk with al-Khatib about U.S. support for the Syrian opposition’s efforts to build a democracy after President Assad’s government falls.

    “We will continue to work with the Syrian opposition to help it organize itself and help it in its work to prepare for a post-Assad Syria," said Carney.

    Syria is also expected to be on the agenda when the vice president meets with the leaders of Germany, France and Britain.

    Biden’s first meeting is with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday in Berlin.  In addition to Syria, they are likely to address the global economy, Afghanistan, and Iran’s nuclear program.

    On Monday, the vice president will be in Paris, meeting with French President Francois Hollande.  Their talks also will cover the eurozone and economic relations between the U.S. and the EU.

    One of their main items will be U.S. support for the French intervention against Islamic extremists in Mali.  Biden’s national security adviser, Tony Blinken, says the extremist threat across North Africa and the Middle East is due to several factors.

    “The reality of porous borders, ungoverned territory, too-readily-available weapons, increasing collaboration among some of these groups, and, in many cases, a new government that lacks the capacity and sometimes the will to deal with the problem," said Blinken.

    The final stop of the vice president’s trip will be London, where he will meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, on many of the same issues covered in the first two stops.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Rubik
    February 01, 2013 9:52 AM
    The UN failed dismally as a lack of cohesive action against Syria and many Governments remain silent, whilst the violence continues. Humanitarian tragedy - most definitely

    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    January 31, 2013 10:49 PM
    I really hope that they can get the Russians to agree, through the UNSC, to deploy a UN mandated force to push for humanitarian corridors and distribution centres to help the trapped civilians, especially in the Sunni muslim areas, the civilians must be in a terrible condition.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    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 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 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.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora