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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid