News / USA

    Kerry to Mideast for Syria Talks

    Kerry to Mideast for Syria Talksi
    X
    May 20, 2013 10:50 AM
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels Monday to the Middle East for talks on holding a Syrian peace conference. As VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he doubts the U.S./Russian initiative can stop the fighting.
    Kerry to Mideast for Syria Talks
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels Monday to the Middle East for talks on holding a Syrian peace conference. 

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he doubts the U.S./Russian initiative can stop the fighting.

    The latest effort to end Syrian violence aims to bring together for the first time envoys from President Assad's government and its opponents.

    Though Washington and Moscow back different sides in the conflict, Secretary of State Kerry said they are united in getting to a transitional government for Syria.

    "Russia and the United States share a belief that it is extremely constructive and positive that we are working together, cooperatively, in an effort to try to implement a peaceful resolution," said Kerry.

    UN chief says time is short

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov must move quickly.

    "We should not lose this momentum generated by Minister Lavrov and Secretary Kerry," said Ban. "There is a high expectation that this meeting should be held as soon as possible."

    But President Assad said there is confusion between a political solution and terrorism.

    "We said from the beginning that we are prepared to talk with forces inside or outside of Syria," said Bashar.  "We do not have a problem with that, but on condition that they do not carry weapons.  You cannot carry a weapon and enter into dialogue."

    President Assad said his opponents are too fragmented to negotiate.  U.S. Institute of Peace analyst Steve Heydemann says Damascus is rejecting talks on issues central to the conflict.

    "Even though they do not want to cause a rift between themselves and the Russians, they are doing everything they can to make sure that these negotiations either do not happen or that they are gamed in such a way that all of the government's issues are defining the contents of the negotiations," Heydemann said.

    Assad refuses opposition demands

    President Assad says he will not resign.  But that remains a core demand of the main opposition group.

    "That is not a demand that the U.S. supports" said Heydemann.  "It is not a demand that the European Union supports.  But if the coalition sticks to it, it is hard to see that this negotiation framework can ever really get off the ground."

    Syria's main opposition group is not meeting with Kerry on this trip to the region and has not committed to joining peace talks.

    "We think that it is still too early to decide whether to attend because it is not clear what this conference is about," said George Sabra, the opposition's Syrian National Council Chairman. "Until now, there is no agenda or list of countries attending."

    That is another problem as Russia says Iran should be included in the talks.  The United States has, in the past, opposed Iran's involvement, but says invitations to these talks are still being worked out with the United Nations.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora