News / USA

US, Britain Vow to Work Towards a New, Democratic Syria

Obama, Cameron Express Determination On Syriai
May 14, 2013 1:00 AM
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirmed their determination to achieve a negotiated transition in Syria and a peace conference to broker the departure of President Bashar al-Assad. VOA senior White House correspondent Dan Robinson reports.
Obama, Cameron Express Determination On Syria
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have reaffirmed their determination to achieve a negotiated solution to end Syria's civil war, through a hoped for peace conference. The president also faced questions about the controversy over last year's terrorist attack on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya.

In their first Oval Office talks since Obama's re-election, the two leaders discussed steps to persuade Syria's rebels, and President Bashar al-Assad's government to join an as yet unscheduled international conference.

Cameron's U.S. visit follows his talks last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and earlier discussions Secretary of State John Kerry had with the Russian leader.

Obama said the United States and Britain will continue to increase pressure on the Assad regime, strengthen Syria's "moderate opposition" and prepare for a Syria without Assad.

"If, in fact, we can broker a peaceful political transition that leads Assad's departure, but a state in Syria that is still intact, that accommodates the interests of all the ethnic groups and all the religious groups inside of Syria, and that ends the bloodshed, stabilizes the situation, that is not just going to be good for us, that will be food for everybody, and we're going to be very persistent in trying to make that happen," said Obama.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Syria's opposition coalition insists President Assad cannot remain in power as part of a negotiated agreement.  Rebels said they are consulting with key Arab state backers and Turkey, before deciding whether to participate.

Both leaders stressed the importance of Russia's support. Cameron said he believes there is political will and common ground to make the conference happen.

"Both the Russian president, the American president, and myself, I think we can all see that the current trajectory of how things are going is not actually in anybody's interest, so it is worth this major diplomatic effort, which we are all together leading, this major diplomatic effort to bring the parties to the table to achieve a transition at the top in Syria, so that we can make the change that country needs," said Cameron.

Cameron said the European Union has made no decision to supply arms to Syria's rebels. He said members continue to examine if further changes can be made to the E.U. arms embargo to support Syria's opposition.

Obama also faced a question about the controversy over changes his administration made to public talking points about last year's terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya.  

Four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed in the attack.

With opposition Republicans in Congress pressing the White House to release additional information, a defiant Obama called the controversy a political "sideshow."

"We dishonor them when we turn things likes this into a political circus. What happened was tragic. It was carried out by extremists inside of Libya.  We are out there trying to hunt down the folks who carried this out and we are trying to make sure that we fix the system so it does not happen again," said the president.

Obama said in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack it was not clear who was responsible or what their motivations were. He said emails detailing administration revisions to talking points were given to congressional committees several months ago, but were suddenly "spun up as if there was something new to the story."

Monday's talks also covered the agenda for next month's G8 Summit of the world's wealthiest industrialized nations, which Cameron is hosting in Northern Ireland.

The two men also talked about the transition in Afghanistan to a support role for foreign forces, Mideast peace efforts, and P5+1 negotiations with Iran. Obama said the burden remains on Iran to resolve international concerns over its nuclear program.

Also discussed were counter-terrorism efforts in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Charlie
May 14, 2013 1:24 AM
Speaking from the comfort and the security of your home, you do need to see the reality of the situation on the ground. Perhaps you
lead a sheltered life. The people in Syria have suffered immensely and many with their lives. President Obama and David Cameron are astute enough to know what has been happening in Syria. Support your President.

by: nubwaxer
May 13, 2013 6:35 PM
here we go again with our clumsy meddling that will not end well. these tribes, clans and sects have no history of democracy nor do they have any desire to establish one.

by: Itani Milleni
May 13, 2013 1:25 PM
Mission Accomplished!

by: Norma Lynn from: SC USA
May 13, 2013 1:19 PM
hey "NotTelling"... i am sorry to tell you that we can NOT disengage these people... 9/11 should have told you that we can't... and they are here!!! they have inundated our "asylum" applications... they are in our schools now... they are soon to be in our Government...
Hey "NotTelling"... wake up... we are witnessing a Global Islamic insurrection... do you really think they will leave US alone?? to them we are the Great Satan...

by: Charles Bennett from: USA
May 13, 2013 1:11 PM
Isn't this exactly the opposite of what Obama's supporters wanted the US to do if he was elected? Nation building, supporting the overthrow of governments, arming rebels, getting our nose into other country's affairs???

How can the Obama-ites sleep at night knowing they voted for someone that is doing the opposite of what they elected him to do?

by: NotTelling
May 13, 2013 12:58 PM
Why do we do this? All monkeying around in that region brings us is trouble. Everything backfires on us and really what goes on there is none of our business anyway. Look at how many trillions we've spent on Iraq and Afghanistan. What good has it really done for us? Now we support groups like Al Qaeda fighting for a "democratic" Syria? Are our governments insane? We just trade bad for worse and blow billions (or trillions) doing it. We suck at nation building, especially in that region full of extremists who hate us.

This news just makes me sick. I don't care about Syria. I don't care about that entire region. I care about the United States of America, my state, my town, my home, my family. Let the idiots on the other side of the world be. Take care of the homefront. Our economy is in the tank. Jobs keep going overseas. Factories are closing. People are hopeless, and our government blows our tax money chasing windmills in the Middle East? This is just sickening.
In Response

by: Itani Milleni
May 13, 2013 1:39 PM
You missed our history. The discovery of New America Atlantis had a mission for us younger generations to carry out; it's the agenda of Francis Beacon hundreds of years ago before we were born.

by: Nick from: New York
May 13, 2013 12:33 PM
Without Assad? I got the memo....He isnt Going Down and neither are his people.

If Hezbollah and Christians are sharing the same foxhole the enemy must come from hell.

by: Samo from: Slowekistan
May 13, 2013 12:26 PM
USA #1
People of Syria soon we will give you the democracy of Saudi Arabia and the stability of Afghanistan. But first we must kill all the bad guys.
In Response

by: annanymouse from: jupitor
May 13, 2013 5:39 PM
Well said Sloweistan
In Response

by: Itani Milleni
May 13, 2013 1:31 PM
The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. or better yet speak softly and carry a big stick, it works all the times.

by: ron from: texas
May 13, 2013 12:17 PM
Some help from those knowledgable in history please.
In the US revolutionary war, did outside countries dictate policy or was it the countries that fought along side us?
In Response

by: Itani Milleni
May 13, 2013 1:29 PM
During US civil war, there was no cellular phone or internet or cyber warfare. Today 2013 we have drones and star wars and shortages of natural resources.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs