News / Middle East

US, Russia Discuss Peace Plan for Syria

  • A boy sells juice near a damaged bus in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, May 30, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters hold weapons at their post in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, May 29, 2013.
  • Buildings that were damaged during clashes between forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and Free Syrian Army fighters, near the Sayeda Zainab area of Damascus, May 29, 2013.
  • Relatives visit a grave at the Shi'ite fighters cemetery in Damascus, May 28, 2013.
  • Shi'ite fighters ride through the Sayeda Zainab area of Damascus with their weapons, May 28, 2013.
  • The inside of a damaged mosque in Dahra Abd Rabbo village, Aleppo, May 27, 2013.
  • U.S. Senator John McCain meets with U.S. troops in southern Turkey, May 27, 2013.  He also visited rebels inside Syria.  This picture was released on his Twitter account.
  • Syrians participate in the funeral prayer for Youssef Ghazi al-Sarmani, who was killed in fighting between rebel and government forces, May 27. The logo in red reads "Talbiseh".
  • A boy makes pastry at a shop in Darkush town, Idlib province, May 26, 2013.
  • A group of men smuggle diesel fuel from Syria to Turkey hoping to sell it at a higher price, across the Al-Assi River in Idlib, May 26, 2013.
  • Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad during clashes against Syrian rebels in Aleppo, May 26, 2013.
  • Supporters and relatives of Hezbollah members attend the funeral of a Hezbollah fighter who died in the Syrian conflict. The funeral took place in the Ouzai district in Beirut, May 26, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter feeds pigeons in Homs, May 26, 2013.

The latest images from Syria

TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart are meeting in Paris to try to accelerate peace efforts for Syria after the European Union's top diplomats failed to reach a compromise over whether to arm opposition fighters.

Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov started one-on-one talks in a Paris hotel Monday aimed at breathing life into a proposed peace conference on Syria. The two will later be joined by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius for a working dinner as they push to bring warring sides in Syria together.

The U.S. and Russia have been trying to arrange the talks for next month, envisioned them as a forum for the Syrian government and opposition to negotiate terms for an interim government to end the civil war.

Earlier, EU foreign ministers had gathered in Brussels to decide the future of the 27-nation bloc's arms embargo on Syria, which expires Friday.  Britain and France have been pushing for an amendment that would allow sending weapons to the Syrian opposition.

The issue is dividing the EU. Austria has been firm in ruling out arming the rebels.

But British Foreign Minister William Hague said the rebels need weapons.

"In our view, it is important to show that we are prepared to amend our arms embargo so that the Assad regime gets a clear signal that it has to negotiate seriously. Therefore, for us, amending the embargo is part of supporting the diplomatic work and trying to bring about a political solution," he said.

Related video footage

Trio of Meetings Focus on Ending Syria Crisisi
X
May 27, 2013 3:27 PM
Diplomats from the European Union, the United States, and the main Syrian opposition coalition are working separately Monday on three initiatives aimed at ending more than two years of fighting in Syria.

Meanwhile the 60-member Syrian National Coalition, Syria's main opposition group, met in Istanbul Monday and blocked a deal to fully admit a liberal faction headed by a Saudi-backed veteran dissident, Michel Kilo.

The SNC's Qatar-backed Muslim Brotherhood alliance successfully resisted an expansion that would have granted Saudi Arabia more influence. Kilo's bloc had been seeking up to 22 new seats in the coalition, but ended up with five.

Heavy fighting raged in Syria around the strategic rebel-held border town of Qusair and the capital, Damascus, amid renewed reports of chemical weapons attacks by Assad's forces.

In Geneva, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay lamented the "horrific" level of rights violations in war-torn Syria, saying "a humanitarian, political and social disaster is already upon us, and what looms is truly a nightmare." She addressed diplomats as she opened one of the U.N. Human Rights Council's four annual sessions.

The Syrian conflict has killed more than 80,000 people since it began as peaceful protests against Assad in March 2011.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
May 27, 2013 12:24 PM
The diplomacy as played by the West represented by USA, France and Britain is fraught with ambiguiti. If the West wanted this war to stop, they would not impose such conditions and conditionalities semantic to the Palestinian demand before peace talks will restart. With such demand as excludes Assad in the negotiations, how does anyone want to achieve peace in the country? First you are allienating Assad from his country, and by default all his supporters have be given red card from their country – if we understand what the Arab Spring as played out in previous experiences means.

Again under muslim brotherhood..! it’s only suicidal to accept what the west is proposing. It is only a way of prolonging the war. No genuine negotiation can be started if the ruling government is excluded, and those from France and Britain know it. Goes to say no one as yet is seeking for genuine ceasefire, much less a ceasation of hostilities out there, with the security council evenly divided between accepting Assad and rejecting him. The so-called opposition should learn from this and stop the bloodshed in the country. No one is going to give peace to Syria but Syrian people. The opposition should stop fooling themselves and allow Assad to transit his government through another election.

In Response

by: Anonymous
May 27, 2013 3:34 PM
Assad is a criminal that is why, he has killed thousands and thousands of innocent civilians. You mention all of his supporters? Maybe less than ten percent? (same minority as himself only reason why they back him).

I don't think anyone should be making deals with Bashar, instead he should be facing several thousand death sentences for those innocent civilians he has killed.

Every Syrian civilian killed by Bashar counts, and adds up.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid