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
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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs