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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid