News / Middle East

    US, Russia Clash Over Syria at NATO Meeting

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) walks behind Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) at the start of a NATO-Russia foreign ministers meeting in Brussels April 23, 2013.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) walks behind Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) at the start of a NATO-Russia foreign ministers meeting in Brussels April 23, 2013.
    Al Pessin
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered starkly different views of the Syrian civil war Tuesday, after meeting at NATO headquarters.

    The United States wants Russia to convince Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, but Russia refuses. Secretary Kerry tried to downplay the differences.

    “There's a difference of opinion between Russia and the United States with respect to when or how Assad might leave. I don't think there's a difference of opinion that his leaving may either be inevitable or necessary to be able to have a solution,” Kerry said.

    But Russia says the shape of a Syrian political settlement must be decided by the Syrians themselves, including President Assad. At a news conference, Foreign Minister Lavrov  accused Western nations of blocking a series of peace efforts, and said if that continues, Syria could come under the control of radical Islamists.

    “Over the last months, there is a growing understanding of real threats we will all face if this status quo maintains, if all efforts to build dialogue will be hindered and blocked by the minority of the international community, which is very aggressive and very bloodthirsty,” Lavrov said.

    Lavrov said there is a growing feeling among Russia's allies that efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict are failing, and he called on all “international players” to bring the Syrian parties to the negotiating table.

    Secretary Kerry said he and Minister Lavrov did agree to keep talking about the issue, and he indicated some new ideas are on the table.

    “Foreign Minister Lavrov and I talked about a number of different ways in which one might try to figure out if you could create a reality to this diplomatic initiative. And we're both going to go back. We're going to explore those possibilities. And we're going to talk again about if any of those other avenues could conceivably be pursued,” Kerry said.

    Those avenues do not include Western military intervention. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday the Syrian war could cause security problems for the region, and beyond. But he said no one is calling for NATO to play any direct role in the crisis.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Xiao Jiang from: New York
    April 25, 2013 1:21 AM
    Neither side is ideal, but I hate the Iranians and Russians more.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    April 24, 2013 1:38 PM
    Assad had been moderate, but with the support of Iran and Hezbollah, no one can say so of him presently. Assad has been seriously backed by Ahmadinejad and Nassaralah in the civil, this completely erases whatever he has going for him as a moderate and a possible hub for peace in the region. The opposition on the other hand is mostly a terrorist group enlisting everything including Hamas, Taliban and al qaida. Yesterday they kidnapped two bishops - a hallmark of terrorism in the region to kidnap especially Christians. Why should anyone lend weight to any of these sides? The solution to the crisis is the only thing that is not on the table presently - foreign military intervention that will ensure a credible election when peace has been restored. Neither the Assad group nor the opposition in their present composition is sure to produce what the world is expecting to emerge of Syria at the end of the imbroglio - a credible democracy to cater for all strata of the Syrian populace. The world has come of age to allow the peace of the region to come from any of these splinter groups, worst of all the Arab League. If the UN will not handle it, then let's leave the people to sort themselves out - their own way. But be rest assured that by the time the people emerge from the Pyrrhic victory, much of the population would be hisotry.

    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    April 24, 2013 12:42 AM
    Mr. Kerry was just thrown in into a very senior position, he needs to have very good staff, because some of the issues faced, are very difficult, complex and require lots of fundamental research, as to how they can be resolved. I do not know? if he has or not staff, but he needs to come up with ideas that bridge interest gaps between the various nations and sometime contradictory positions/interests. Tough situation.

    by: Igor from: Russia
    April 23, 2013 11:51 PM
    Lavrov is right. To overthrow a government by foreign forces is not very diffilcult but to create a new one which represents the whole Syria is not simple. The opposition is a mixture of extremists actually led by Al-Quaeda. Only a fool would like to replace a rather moderate government with an extreme one full of terrorists.

    by: State Dept from: DC, USA
    April 23, 2013 8:51 PM
    Dr. Hans, I think you are overestimating the size of the pool of diplomatic talent the US can choose from. Kerry is an idiot, but he reflect a distinct incompetent administration.
    In Response

    by: James Retired USAF from: Florida
    April 24, 2013 5:06 AM
    I have to agree despite Kerry's Military career, He's Like Copernicus, lacking the powder wig as Bill Maeher put it comical context, He has never had any stage presence, and Diplomacy is really Drama acting on one level while striving for a alternate goal. These current events do not afford any playing around time finding the right guy or woman, Susan Rice, Obama's got get over that, Even a Republican of Dynamic presence and wit(very important) The Russians love to laugh in common with Americans when we argue and the Chinese as well, he so droll you can't tell if he means business or he's swishy washing his way through it, They( Russians and Chinese) want engagement, fresh honest rapport admitting ones own failings, to get a conversation going, Kerry never had that, he as tepid as cold oatmeal, what was Obama thinking?

    by: Dr. Hans F. from: Germany
    April 23, 2013 4:57 PM
    the European consensus in diplomatic circles is that Kerry is a poor diplomatic choice for Obama to have made; Kerry just does not have the intellectual depth to advance the US cause, his loyalties are confused his presentations muddled and he projects an air of incompetent imbecility. Obama should reconsider his choice without delay...

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.