News / Middle East

Major Powers to Take Bigger Role in Syria Talks

Big Powers to Take Bigger Role in Syria Talksi
X
February 10, 2014 11:02 PM
Senior U.S. and Russian officials are to take a bigger role in the UN-sponsored talks on Syria's future that reconvened in Geneva Monday. The move comes as the Syrian government and opposition delegations remain far apart on how to end the nearly three-year-long civil war. VOA's Al Pessin reports from London.
Al Pessin
— Senior U.S. and Russian officials are to take a bigger role in the U.N.-sponsored talks on Syria's future that reconvened in Geneva Monday. The move comes as the Syrian government and opposition delegations remain far apart on how to end the nearly three-year-long civil war.  

It was a familiar sight as the U.N. and Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi arrived for another round of talks. The opposition and government delegations held separate sessions with the mediator, who canceled his usual news conference.
 
The U.N. says the talks covered scheduling and the agenda for meetings expected to continue while the negotiators await a U.S.-Russia meeting on Friday. Those countries are the main backers of the two sides, but until now their delegations in Geneva had played a behind-the-scenes role.  
 
Middle East expert Reinoud Leenders of London's King's College says the big powers, which are trying to manage the Syrian transition more effectively than they were able to manage other recent changes in the region, face significant obstacles.
 
"You get a sense they are trying to learn from mistakes in the past," Leenders said. "The real obstacle is on the ground, given the rather complex situation."

That situation–which involves Syrian government troops and a variety of opposition forces, including al-Qaida-affiliated militants–makes it difficult to make any progress, even on humanitarian issues.
 
International pressure finally forced some relief over the weekend for people in the city of Homs, which is besieged by government forces. That had been a major topic of discussion during the first round of the Geneva talks two weeks ago.
 
But experts say much more humanitarian relief is needed there and elsewhere.  And they say the difficulty of negotiating even a short-term truce in Homs shows yet again just how hard it will be to reach the talks' main goal–a political settlement to end the war.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid