News / Middle East

Russia Urges Syria to Dialogue with Opposition

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference after a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr (not pictured) in Moscow, December 28, 2012.Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference after a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr (not pictured) in Moscow, December 28, 2012.
x
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference after a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr (not pictured) in Moscow, December 28, 2012.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference after a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr (not pictured) in Moscow, December 28, 2012.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday urged Syria’s deputy foreign minister to engage in talks with the opposition in an attempt to end more than 21 months of civil war in Syria.

But an opposition leader responded by slamming Russia while activists showed no interest in talks with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

After talks with his Egyptian counterpart in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin has consistently maintained that dialogue is necessary for progress and peace in Syria.

Lavrov said Russia has actively encouraged the Syrian leadership to show its readiness to talk to the opposition and discuss a wide variety of things agreed to in Geneva in June. The United States and Russia agreed to the Geneva Dialogue that supported talks with both sides of the conflict.

Earlier Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the RIA Novosti news agency Moscow has sent an invitation for talks to the Syrian National Council, the main exiled opposition group recognized by many as the legitimate government of Syria.

Opposition bristles

On Thursday, a spokesman for the Syrian coalition said the group will accept any solution that excludes Mr. Assad and his aides.

Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul, Walid al-Bunni said the Syrian leadership has blood on its hands and must leave the country. Western powers and their Arab allies have backed opposition demands for Mr. Assad's ouster.

Opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib said in an interview Friday on Al Jazeera television, that he had ruled out a trip to Russia and wanted an apology from Moscow for its support of Mr. Assad.

"We have clearly said we will not go to Moscow," he said. "We could meet in an Arab country if there was a clear agenda...We also want an apology from Lavrov because all this time he said that the people will decide their destiny, without foreign intervention. Russia is intervening and meanwhile all these massacres of the Syrian people have happened."

Russia has refused to back three rounds of United Nations resolutions against Mr. Assad’s government. Russian President Vladimir Putin says it is not the job of the U.N. Security Council to force the ouster of any government.

Many analysts see Russia, a long time ally of Syria, as the linchpin when it comes to resolving the conflict.

Russian influence waning

But Masha Lipman, an analyst with the Carnegie Center here in Moscow, said Russia's hold on Syria is waning.

"I think it has lost its influence in Syria," Lipman said. "It has no influence with Assad. Siding with Assad, even with reservations, was a lost cause from the beginning. It was clear that sooner or later his regime would fall and Russia would end up not as an ally with the new Syrian government whatever it is. I don’t think by making these halfway statements now Russia can change that."

International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called this week for an interim government in Syria until new elections can be held. Brahimi is expected to discuss the issue with leaders in Moscow in the coming days.

Meanwhile, opposition activists reported renewed fighting Friday throughout the country.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says one civilian was killed and dozens were wounded when government planes bombarded the Assal al-Ward area in Damascus province.

It said fighting also broke out overnight in areas surrounding the capital, as well as close to Syria's border with Jordan.

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
December 29, 2012 2:26 PM
The sit of the civ population of Syria day by day gets more horrendous, from the media info the sit is dire. Now that Russia is engaged, the minimal need that exists is to provide for safe humanitarian corridors/ distribution areas for medication/ hospital supplies/food/fuel, to ensure the population, as well as it can be done, is not destroyed/ starved or frozen to death. Hopefully the entire UN, but especially the UNSC, needs to at least engage into saving the lifes of the children, elderly and the civ population on both sides of the conflict. No excuse for either side, including the backers, to not at least agree to save the civ population.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 30, 2012 11:20 AM
Are you kidding me and the world? Bashar al Assad doesn't care, not at all. Of course the FSA and Civilians would like food, medicine, clothing etc. But Bashar al Assad doesn't want this, he wants to do anything he can to terrorize and disrupt the Syrian population. It is time the Syrian people bear arms and storm Assads hideout at all costs. Cold is coming and deaths will be much higher. I think that putting a much stronger effort to go directly after Bashar would be key, and time/lives better spent. Bashar needs to be pulled out of Syria by the hair or killed whatever is easiest because he has already started the genocide wheel turning.

by: Dave from: USA
December 28, 2012 4:49 PM
Tanks guns can hit long distances...wonder why they are not focused on the palace?
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 31, 2012 6:38 AM
From what I've read, he left the palace on the run, and is currently in hiding. Somewhere in Damascus.

by: Fred-Rick from: California
December 28, 2012 11:14 AM
As usual, Russia plays with just one trump card, plays it badly, and ends up losing. In this case, Russia's influence in Syria goes the way Basher Assad is going. The Russians and their one-party democracy aren't hip to the 21st century.
In Response

by: Plain Mirror from: Plain planet - Africa
December 29, 2012 3:46 AM
Objection to Mouaz al-Khatib demand for apology. Russia hasn't anything to apologise for. Defending the soveriegnty of Syria by veto on any unconstitutional approach and inerference in domestic issues of other nations by the US, France and others shows that Russia respects and upholds the soveriegnty of other nations. How does Mouaz al-Khatib expect Russia to side evil simplely because it wants to please Mouaz al-Khatib, Jihaddists and alkaida fighters who want to rule Syria by all means? Yes Assad has blood in his hands yet it shouldn't be ruled out that Mouaz al-Khatib and his supporters also have their hands stained with the blood of Syria people. If Assad goes, that is for Syria people and if he stays, that is also for Syria people. But no one has to blame external influence on Syria because Syria government and the Syria people opened the way. If Russia is to apologise to Mouaz al-Khatib, then US has to apologise to Assad government and the Syria people for arming rebels, Alkaida and Jihaddist fighters in Syria.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 28, 2012 4:28 PM
Revolt is a terrible thing but in cases like this it needs to be done. Bashar and his father Hafez have killed over 100,000 people and terrorized millions, detained thousands, tortured thousands (inhumane acts), displaced millions, and the list goes on with brutal tactics. The country is so small & condensed, and the word gets out quick. Syrians want him out ASAP at any cost so they can get on with their daily lives again, and prosper in the future.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 28, 2012 4:26 PM
You are 100% right. A country is the people, and not a leader. What the people want, goes. A leader can't normally get away with what Bashar Al-Assad has. 90% of all Syrians killed in Syria were killed with Russian ammunition, to top it off. Any friend of Assad is just as bloody/dirty to the Syrians. Lesson for the Russian Government, start making your population like you, don't try and force them.

by: Anonymous from: America
December 28, 2012 11:09 AM
Russia committed regime change to rid the world of the murderous Nazi rule over Germany. Now Russia wants the world to remain silent over the murderous Assad rule over Syria? I don't think so.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 30, 2012 11:23 AM
Absolutely right, and besides Bashar has lined the pockets with money of the Russian Gov (Putin) for weapons to kill people. Why would the Russians want anyone else in power?

Russia is just as much to blame for this bloody mess (If not even more to blame) than Bashar al Assad. I will be sooooo happy the day Russia stands up against Putin and throws him out of power. No doubt Putin would bomb his own people in a heart beat.
In Response

by: Mike from: Greece
December 28, 2012 11:59 AM
Mr. Anonymous, I agree whole heartedly.(Forgive my spelling)

by: Kremlin Watcher from: USA
December 28, 2012 10:42 AM
The Kremlin is just looking for a face saving way to deal with Assad's imminent departure. If they had done this 21 months ago, it might have been useful.

by: Michael from: USA
December 28, 2012 8:13 AM
The Kremlin has spotted the breaking point. Washington, in deep water at home, will be forced to move beyond the technocratic response to the war in Syria as the war in Syria

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs