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

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday 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.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs