News / USA

Syria Opposition Leaders Meet UN Security Council

The leader of Syria's Western-backed opposition group Ahmad Al-Jarba (C) speaks to reporters after an informal Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria, July 26, 2013 at United Nations headquarters.
The leader of Syria's Western-backed opposition group Ahmad Al-Jarba (C) speaks to reporters after an informal Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria, July 26, 2013 at United Nations headquarters.
Margaret Besheer
— Leaders of Syria's main opposition coalition have told the United Nations Security Council they are dedicated to democracy and oppose extremism.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, who convened Friday's meeting, said a key focus of the talks was finding ways to end Syria's brutal civil war and to help its victims.

“We heard a very positive message from President [Ahmad] al-Jarba, who made a very strong statement of commitment to the unity of Syria, to democracy and to plurality," he said. "He condemned extremism and he rejected terrorism.”

Ahmad al-Jarba, the newly elected National Coalition of Syria president, led the Syrian opposition delegation to the meeting.

For months, the international community, and most recently the United States and Russia, have been working to get representatives from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, and the opposition, to meet in Geneva. The goal is to find a political solution to the two-year-old conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people.

It would be a follow-up to a meeting a year ago, when participants agreed to what has become known as the Geneva Communiqué, which aims to start a dialogue between the two sides.

The communiqué calls for the formation of a transitional government. Western powers and the opposition say the language clearly excludes President Assad and his inner circle from being part of a transitional government. The Assad government and its main ally, Russia, disagree. The issue has been one of the main obstacles to holding what has become known as Geneva II.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he encourages the opposition to go to the talks without conditions, which he calls counterproductive.

"I regret that there is still an effort - an effort which I saw from leaders of National Coalition and also unfortunately some members of the Security Council - to complicate matters by starting interpreting various provisions of Geneva Communique in advance of the beginning of the negotiations. I mean this is an extremely complex political crisis,” he said.

Coalition President al-Jarba told reporters there needs to be more international pressure to force the Assad government to accept a political transition. Al-Jarba said he urges the council to get the Syrian government to accept the Geneva Communiqué and if it refuses, he said the council should impose targeted sanctions.

Al-Jarba was clear that the opposition is ready for a negotiated settlement, but only if it is based on the Geneva Communiqué - which still leaves the two sides far apart.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
July 27, 2013 4:49 PM
If the Syrian people had a vote (not managed by assad) to hang or not to hang assad for his crimes would be the best thing for Syrians. This way the Syrians decide. They are the ones he has been terrorizing, and this way the people would have a decision of their own. This way there is no lies and the truth would be known to the world. I already feel I know the decision that would be made.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid