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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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