News / Middle East

Brahimi: Delay on International Syria Conference

UN peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi attends a press conference June 25, 2013 in Geneva
UN peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi attends a press conference June 25, 2013 in Geneva
Selah Hennessy
It is unlikely that a Syrian peace conference will take place in July as planned, according to United Nations special representative Lakhdar Brahimi.  

Russia and the United States agreed in early May to convene an international conference aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to Syria’s conflict.

Earlier this month delegates from Russia and the United States, along with Brahimi, had a first meeting aimed at preparing the way for that conference, which they said would “hopefully” take place in July.

But speaking to reporters Tuesday in Geneva, just before another meeting with the U.S. and Russian delegations, Brahimi said a July date is unlikely.

"I doubt whether the conference will take place in July.  The opposition, you know, they are meeting, I think the next meeting is on four and five July.  So, I do not think they will be ready,” Brahimi said.

Tuesday’s meeting included U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman and two Russian deputy foreign ministers.

Brahimi said their job is to assess what needs to be done to make sure the Geneva conference on Syria can go ahead with the “best chances of success”.  The pressure is on, he said, to make progress.

“I think that also what is happening in the region is extremely, extremely serious and I very, very much hope that people, government in the region and the big powers, particularly United States and Russia will - I am sure they are aware - but they would like to contain this situation that is getting out of hand, not only in Syria but also in the region," Brahimi said.

A U.N. statement Tuesday said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov plan to meet next week to discuss the situation in Syria.

The United States and Russia are supporting opposite sides in the Syrian conflict: Russia supports President Bashar Assad, while the U.S. backs the opposition.  The United States has recently said it will begin sending arms to the opposition, in addition to the non-lethal aid it had been providing.

A senior Middle East analyst at the Britain-based group Maplecroft, Torbjorn Soltvedt, says the possibility of finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis is growing increasingly doubtful.

An international conference, he says, seems unlikely to change the situation on the ground in Syria.

“Even if it does take place I think its chances of achieving anything are pretty bleak.  The positions of Russia and the U.S. are very different, and if you look at the fighters on the ground in Syria I do not think there is much impetus for either side in the conflict to lay down their arms and cease fighting.  I think both sides feel they have more to gain from carrying on the battle,” Soltvedt said.

Syria’s Foreign Minister said Monday his government is serious about participating in the proposed Geneva conference in the hopes of building a coalition government that consists of representatives of all the Syrian people.  He said the government has no intention of “handing over authority” to other parties.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs