News / Middle East

Russia, UN Envoy Call for Peaceful Solution in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at a news conference in Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at a news conference in Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has echoed a call from an international peace envoy to resolve Syria's civil war through a government-backed national dialogue and political process.

The Russian foreign ministry quoted Lavrov as telling a visiting Syrian diplomat there is "no alternative" to a peaceful solution of the conflict. It said he made the comment Thursday, in talks with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad.

In separate remarks to Russian news agency Interfax, Lavrov warned of "bloody chaos" if the Syrian civil war escalates. He said the chances of establishing a transitional government are decreasing, but still exist. Russia is a longtime ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Change

International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi gives a press conference at a Damascus hotel on December 27, 2012.International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi gives a press conference at a Damascus hotel on December 27, 2012.
x
International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi gives a press conference at a Damascus hotel on December 27, 2012.
International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi gives a press conference at a Damascus hotel on December 27, 2012.
Earlier in the day, international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said any Syrian transitional government must represent what he called "real change" and hold full powers to lead the country to new elections.

Lavrov said the solution should involve a broad inter-Syrian dialogue and a political process based on an action plan made in Geneva that won international approval in June. The Russian foreign ministry said Makdad expressed appreciation for the Russian position.

A spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition said the main exiled opposition group will accept any solution that excludes Assad and his aides.

Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
x
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul, Walid al-Bunni said the Syrian leadership has blood on its hands and must leave the country. Western powers and their Arab allies have backed opposition demands for Assad's ouster.

Assad

The Geneva plan called for a transitional government to be established but did not explicitly bar Assad from being a part of that process.

The envoy Brahimi was speaking in Damascus after several days of talks with Syrian officials and domestic-based opposition groups. Brahimi did not say whether Assad should be a part of the "real change" that he seeks.

He also said a Syrian transition period must not lead to a collapse of the state or state institutions. The Algerian diplomat is due to visit Moscow on Saturday to seek Russian support for his ideas.

Brahimi also denied reports that Russia and the United States had agreed to a Syria peace plan.

"Some said in Syria and outside Syria that I have come here to market a Russian-American project. I wish there were a Russian-American project. There is no Russian American project and hence I didn't come here to market it," he insisted.

Moscow's concerns

Russian commentator Fyodor Lukyanov told VOA that Russia wants to avoid a scenario in which Syria's majority Sunni rebels quickly take power after deposing Assad's minority Alawite leadership.

"Not only Alawites, but basically all minorities are very much afraid of Sunni victory, because they are almost sure that a new majority will take revenge on everybody who was in power before, or associated with power," he explained.

Lukyanov, editor of the journal Russia in Global Affairs, said Moscow believes the victory of one side over the other will not bring stability to Syria.

"Because then the other side will just fight for their lives, for survival," he noted. " Now, 300,000 Alawite [troops]are called the Syrian army. In case of a change, they would become a paramilitary militia. That is the difference. The essence of their fight  will be the same."

Lukyanov said Russia also wants to prevent Western powers from helping to oust another Moscow-friendly Arab leader after they gave military support to rebels who deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi last year.



  • A child uses a megaphone to lead others in chanting Free Syrian Army slogans during a demonstration in Bustan Al-Qasr, Aleppo, Syria, January 4, 2013.
  • Demonstrators step on a picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during a protest against his regime in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr district, January 4, 2013.
  • Damaged buildings and shops with members of the Syrian army patrolling in the distance in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Men stand amidst wreckage and debris after a car bomb exploded at a crowded gas station in Barzeh al-Balad district in Damascus, in this handout photograph released by SANA on January 3, 2013.
  • A father reacts after the death of two of his children whom activists said were killed by shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters stand near a fire after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Residents wear masks as they search for bodies after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013
  • Members of the Free Syrian Army stand behind a machine gun turret with a flag reading "There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger" in Aleppo's Bustan Al Qaser district, Syria, January 2, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter asks a child to move away from his house's window as a security measure in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr district December 30, 2012.
  • A boy watches men dig graves for future casualties of Syria's civil conflict at Sheikh Saeed cemetery in Azaz city, December 30, 2012.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
December 28, 2012 4:38 AM
Question Mr Sergei Lavrov, do you consider the Russians/Government a friend of the Syrian people? Because the Syrian people don't like friends of Bashar Al-Assad. Please answer Sergei.

by: Anonymous
December 28, 2012 4:32 AM
Do you think for a minute any of the hundreds of thousands of people, that were either a) related to someone Bashar Killed b) related to anyone who was tortured c) related to anyone who was detained d) related to anyone who was displaced .... Would want to make any deals whatsoever with this Bashar Al-Assad terrorist? Whom he and his father has killed more than Bin Laden? I highly doubt it, and I honestly don't blame the Syrians for doing a full job. Bashar needs removal and the world knows it , and Bashar knows it, he won't go, so now it seems he has to be forced.

And...As far as Russias concern...
Who cares if Russia is a long time Ally of Bashar Al Assad because that isn't the people of Syria that is just Bashar. It is the people that makes ANY country. Something Russia just can't get throught their thick heads is that the people of Syria will never want Russia on their soil again after this. So really Russia has no say in the matter anymore. Russia will be kicked out for their country of Syria for inaction to extinguish Bashar when they had the chance and could of saved tens of thousands of innocent people.

Praise to the Syrian people for going through this terrible time while Bashar destroys the country and trys to break the hearts and minds of the Syrian people, trying to force them to like him. The hearts and minds of the Syrian people are unbreakable, if anything, they will become more and more united every day to get Bashar out of Syria, at any cost.

by: Sunny Enwerem
December 28, 2012 12:28 AM
An Interim Government in Syria is a good suggestion but it is like applying medicines after death at this stage and the only way to stop the war is for Assad himself to defect to the opposition if he wants to live to see the free Syria imerge BUT I dought he would so he must fall with the blood in his hands

by: Sam from: Ghalyoun
December 27, 2012 11:04 AM
lakhdar Brahimi is trying to commence a well known process, called stealing people hard earned victory, and making sure the current government stays in power, how much of a failure can he be.
In Response

by: Stephen S from: Australia
December 27, 2012 2:38 PM
Oh well if the US can forgive Burma's human rights abuses, then they can forgive Syria. Isn't it a crazy old world? And hasn't the US cooperated with some strange people and countries in their history! Such a holy nation, holier than thou' when a diplomatic move is needed.

"So the West should dictate to elected leaders of Muslim countries about appropriate Islamic values?"

The West don't give a damn about Islamic values as long as Islamic values do not interfere with Western interests: imperialism, colonialism, exploitation.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs