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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora