News / Middle East

    Lavrov: US Trying to Blackmail Russia on UN Syria Resolution

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a news conference after his meeting with French counterpart Laurent Fabius, unseen, in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 17, 2013.
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a news conference after his meeting with French counterpart Laurent Fabius, unseen, in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 17, 2013.
    VOA News
    Russia has accused the United States of trying to "blackmail" it into letting the U.N. Security Council authorize force against the Syrian government if Damascus fails to give up its chemical weapons.

    The United States and its allies have been pressing the Council to adopt a Syria resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which would permit enforcement through military action.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday U.S. officials told him that if Russia does not agree to a Chapter 7 resolution, Washington will block the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons from helping to remove Syria's stockpiles.

    Russia and the United States made a deal earlier this month for the Netherlands-based international body to monitor the disposal of all chemical weapons in Syria by the middle of next year.

    Speaking to a Russian TV channel, Lavrov accused the United States of "blackmail" and trying to show "superiority" rather than focusing on the common goal of removing the weapons.

    In a statement sent to VOA, a State Department official said U.S. diplomats are drafting a U.N. Security Council resolution with the "strongest possible enforcement mechanism" to ensure Syria's disposal of the stockpiles.

    The official said Washington will not negotiate the details in public.

    The official also said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Lavrov on Sunday and "reiterated the importance of working together" on their recent agreement about the need to destroy Syria's chemical weapons. There was no direct U.S. response to Lavrov's allegations of blackmail.

    Kerry and Lavrov reached the agreement after a chemical attack near Damascus killed hundreds of people on August 21. The United States says pro-Assad forces carried out the attack, while Russia blames it on rebels fighting to oust the Syrian leader.

    Russia has long opposed Western threats of sanctions or force against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime Russian ally.

    OPCW said Saturday the Syrian government provided it with an inventory of its chemical weapons as part of the U.S.-Russian deal. OPCW said its "technical secretariat" was reviewing the information.

    In his interview, Lavrov said Russia is willing to send military observers to Syria to guard the perimeters of all chemical sites where OPCW experts would conduct disposal-monitoring work.

    Meanwhile, the Russian government accused Syrian rebels of firing a mortar at its embassy in Damascus on Sunday. It said the attack left three embassy workers with non-life threatening wounds. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora