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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs