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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs