News / Middle East

British, French Leaders Call on Syria's Opposition to Unify

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (l) and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at the Elysee palace, Feb. 17, 2012.
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (l) and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at the Elysee palace, Feb. 17, 2012.
Lisa Bryant

French and British leaders on Friday urged Syria's opposition to unite so the international community can help them topple the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.  The two men also signed a civilian nuclear agreement and discussed defense cooperation at a summit in the French capital.

At a joint press conference at the Elysee Presidential Palace, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron described the lack of unity and organization of Syria's opposition movement as a major obstacle to resolving the 11-month-old crisis - as important as the current standoff at the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Sarkozy said that any revolution or change in Syria can only come from within. That, he said, is the lesson learned from the recent popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The international community is ready to help Syria's opposition, but it must organize and tell the world what it needs.

Mr. Sarkozy described other areas where the international community could act on Syria, including reinforcing sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad's regime. France will also be pushing world powers next week to increase humanitarian assistance to Syrians when they meet on the crisis in Tunis.

Last year, France and Britain led a NATO campaign that helped topple Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Libya. But diplomats and analysts like Nick Witney, of the European Council on Foreign Relations, note that Syria is a very different situation - in part, because there is no United Nations resolution authorizing military action.

"I don't think there's any lack of a real visceral desire on the part of British and French governments to find a way to do something," said Witney. "But the fact is, it's extremely difficult to know what can be done in the case of Syria."

Mr. Cameron said he wanted the two countries and their allies to continue working and thinking of ways to help the transition in Syria and rid its people of what he described as a "brutal dictator."

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs