News / Middle East

British Top Diplomat Stresses Need for Syria Conference

British Foreign Secretary William Hague speaks as Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh (R) listens during their joint news conference before a meeting of the Friends of Syria alliance in Amman, May 22, 2013.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague speaks as Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh (R) listens during their joint news conference before a meeting of the Friends of Syria alliance in Amman, May 22, 2013.
VOA News
British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the Syrian government is "increasingly dependent" on foreign support, marking a threat to regional security that shows the urgency of talks to find a political solution to the country's crisis.

He spoke Wednesday in Amman, Jordan, where top diplomats from 11 countries in the so-called Friends of Syria group are set to discuss a proposed Syrian peace conference.

Organizers want to hold those negotiations involving the Syrian opposition and President Bashar al-Assad's government next month.  Hague stressed the need to set a date in the next few days and bring an end to the "appalling violence" in Syria.

He said that unless the Syrian government is ready to take part in negotiations, it will end up presiding over the "complete collapse of their country."

"If the regime were to think they can just win a military victory and somehow go back to whatever was normal before, I think they will be making a terrible error, a catastrophic error.  They need a political solution, whatever the circumstances on the ground at the time," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday will address the meeting, which brings together a group of nations that back the Syrian opposition.

Senior U.S. analysts describe the talks as part of a broader U.S. effort to work with allies on the Syrian conflict.

Jordan says top envoys from Britain, France, Germany and Italy, as well as Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will attend the meeting.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, speaking alongside Hague, said the violence, bloodshed and the suffering of the Syrian people must end.  He also expressed a need to address the humanitarian pressures facing Jordan.

The United Nations says the crisis in Syria has forced 1 million Syrian civilians into makeshift camps on the borders of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Neither the Syrian government nor the opposition has committed to attend the proposed peace conference, and analysts say it is far from certain the talks will soon take place.

The issue of Iran's involvement in the proposed meeting has divided the United States and Russia.  Moscow says Iran should take part, while the United States has in the past objected to Iranian involvement. 

However, U.S. officials say no delegations have yet been ruled in or out of the conference.  France said last week it does not want Iran there.

Hague also discussed a push by Britain and France to amend the European Union's arms embargo on Syria to allow weapons shipments to the opposition.  He said Europe must decide by the end of the month only whether to alter those rules, and that any decision about actually sending arms will come later.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid