News / Middle East

Syria Conflict Exposes Old Rivalries at G8 Summit

Syria Conflict Exposes Old Rivalries at G8 Summiti
X
June 17, 2013 11:33 PM
World leaders gathering at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland have been discussing how to end the Syrian conflict - and as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been defending his support for Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, despite criticism from the his G8 counterparts.
Henry Ridgwell
World leaders gathering at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland have been discussing how to end the Syrian conflict - and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been defending his support for Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, despite criticism from the his G8 counterparts.

Intense gun battles rage in the heart of Damascus and Aleppo on the same day that G8 leaders gather in Northern Ireland.

The gulf of disagreement on how to end the fighting appears to be widening.

Chris Phillips of Queen Mary University, London, argues Moscow has been the most consistent international player in the conflict.

"The Russians have always backed the principle of state sovereignty. As they see it, the Syrians have a right to conclude their affairs inside Syria as they wish. Russia itself is an autocratic regime and is not very keen on any major attempts to undermine the principle of state sovereignty and they are going to stand by that," said Phillips.

British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted Vladimir Putin on the eve of the summit, and reiterated his position that the Syrian president must go.

Putin was equally blunt, rejecting the position of Britain, the United States and France that the Syrian rebels should be armed.

"I want to draw your attention to the fact that Russia supplies arms to the legitimate government of Syria in full compliance of international law. We are not breaching any laws, let me emphasize that: nothing. We call on all our partners to act in the same fashion," said Putin.

Chris Phillips says that Western hesitation over supporting the opposition in Syria has emboldened Moscow.

"They're not actually willing to put in the kind of resources that the sides that want to preserve Assad are willing to put in. The amount of money and weapons being sent by Russia and by Assad's key ally Iran and their key supporters in Hezbollah from Lebanon is vast," he said.

President Putin will find that on Syria, it is him against seven others at the G8, says Professor Christopher Brown of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

"It would be actually an achievement if the G8 leaders could collectively put pressure on the opposition and on the government, to attend - to just getting a conference would be a position which is better than the position we're in at the moment," said Brown.

Brown says any progress hinges on the historic rival Cold War powers finding common ground.

"I think there'll be plenty of opportunities for Putin and Obama to sit down together without other people around. Funnily enough I think this is the right forum for dealing with Syria. It's not the right forum for dealing with economic problems, because it doesn't have China and India there," he said.

Healing the world economy is high on the agenda in Enniskillen. But analysts say the continuing bloodshed in Syria is exposing a widening divide among old rivals.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs