News / Middle East

Syria Peace Push Continues as Complications Linger

In this photo released by the Jordanian Royal Palace, Jordan's King Abdullah II, left, shakes hands with U.N. envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan, Oct. 23, 2013.
In this photo released by the Jordanian Royal Palace, Jordan's King Abdullah II, left, shakes hands with U.N. envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan, Oct. 23, 2013.
VOA News
United Nations and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is pushing forward with a regional tour aimed at building support for a Syrian peace conference, amid lingering questions about who would take part and under what conditions.

He is meeting Wednesday with officials in Jordan to discuss the proposed conference for negotiating a political solution for Syria.  Brahimi also plans to visit Qatar, Turkey, Iran and Syria before holding meetings in two weeks with the members of the U.N. Security Council in Geneva.

On Tuesday, officials from 11 nations known as the Friends of Syria met in London with members of the Syrian opposition to urge those opposed to President Bashar al-Assad to take part in the peace talks.

The opposition has so far resisted, and Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad Jarba said there can be no talks until there is a clear plan for Assad to leave.

''If some countries would feel the discomfort from the humanitarian situation, due to al-Assad's massacres and wish to wash their hands at the expense of dirtying our hands with a humiliating position, you will hear us say no five times rather than three.  No negotiations, no reconciliation, no recognition, no retreat and no to international isolation," Jarba said. "However, if the aim was to remove the criminal from power and the war criminals are tried, then we welcome Geneva 2.  These are our true demands and this is where we stand, and to build on these principles, together we will rid Syria and the region of the spreading fire.  These are requests not conditions.  But Geneva 2 cannot be a success without these.''

U.S. and British officials again urged all sides to sit down and talk, with British Foreign Secretary William Hague adding Assad will eventually have to step down.
 
"We are as clear as he (Syrian opposition chief Ahmad Jarba) is that Assad has no role in a peaceful and democratic Syria," said Hague.

President Assad said in an interview Monday he sees no reason why he should not run for reelection next year.

Meanwhile Wednesday, activists say Syrian authorities released 13 women held in Syrian prisons as part of a three-way hostage exchange. It began Saturday with Syrian rebels releasing nine Lebanese men held hostage for 17 months in exchange for two Turkish pilots detained in Lebanon since August.   

In The Hague, the joint OPCW-United Nations mission tasked with destroying Syria's chemical weapons program and arsenal said it has visited 18 of 23 sites declared by the government and destroyed production equipment in many of the locations.

Syria has until Sunday to submit a plan for the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile.  The OPCW will then set a timetable for the goal of destroying all of Syria's chemical arsenal by mid-2014.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid