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

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs