World News

Russia Hands US Plan for Syrian Diplomacy

Russia says it has given the United States its plan for securing Syria's chemical weapons ahead of at least two days of talks beginning Thursday in Geneva between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart.

Sergei Lavrov gave no details of the proposal but said he would discuss it with Kerry during their meetings. Kerry has said reaching any agreement on a chemical weapons plan would be "exceedingly difficult."

A team of U.S. arms experts will accompany the top U.S. diplomat, who will also meet with U.N.-Arab League special envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, while in Geneva.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. will not "play games" at the talks, will only accept a credible proposal and retains the option of military strikes if negotiations fail.



"At the same time, our military remains in the same position, it's maintaining its current posture to keep pressure on the [Syrian] regime, and we have that in our back pocket as well."



Meanwhile, envoys from the five permanent veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- prepared to discuss a proposed U.N. resolution that aims to ensure the Russian plan is implemented quickly.

Moscow already has rejected key elements of what the U.S. and France say must be a binding U.N. resolution, including tough language allowing military force against Syria to ensure compliance.



U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said earlier Wednesday that the failure to halt atrocities in Syria had become a new stain on the reputation of the world body and the Security Council powers.

In a speech Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama referred to the Russian proposal and Syria's reported agreement as "encouraging signs," but also stressed that the U.S. military would be ready to respond if diplomacy fails.

Under the deal, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government would surrender its chemical weapons to the United Nations to have them destroyed, and the United States would put off its plans for a military strike.

Mr. Obama asked Congress to postpone a vote authorizing military action against Syria to let the diplomatic initiatives play out.

Iran and China, which have opposed outside military intervention in Syria, expressed optimism about the diplomatic path on Wednesday.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs