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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid