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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid