News / Middle East

Russia Pushes Diplomacy for Syria Peace Talks

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad (L) leaves the headquarters of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Nov. 18, 2013.
Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad (L) leaves the headquarters of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Nov. 18, 2013.
VOA News
Russia hosted closed-door talks Monday with Syrian diplomats in a renewed push for a Syrian peace conference in which Moscow says Tehran also must play a role.

President Bashar al-Assad's envoys began negotiations in Moscow just as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon disclosed in Vilnius that he hoped to convene the so-called Geneva II conference in mid-December.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said his government "regards Iran as a very important partner in all Middle Eastern affairs,'' in comments at the start of separate talks with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

The Syrian opposition said Russia also invited Syrian National Coalition president Ahmed Jarba for a three-day visit to coincide with the regime officials' stay.

Moscow has been emboldened by its success in helping to mediate a deal under which Syria will destroy its chemical weapons, but Washington is wary of allowing Iran to join Syrian peace talks.

Reuters reported that Syria's ambassador to Russia said Monday that insufficient funding and unspecified actions by militants fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad are hindering the government's compliance with a deal to abandon chemical weapons

In Syria, a prominent rebel commander died after being wounded last week in the heavily contested northern city of Aleppo. Abdul-Qadir Saleh was the head of the Islamist al-Tawhid Brigade, which announced his death in a statement Monday.

He had been taken to a hospital in Turkey following an attack on the brigade' leadership by Syrian forces last Thursday that also killed another commander. The group is estimated to have at least 8,000 fighters.

Assad's troops have made recent gains in Aleppo, the country's largest city.

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Comment Sorting
by: musawi melake
November 19, 2013 7:00 AM
Just as the Russians are planing to bring about a counter-balanced world that existed after the end of Nazi-terror, The Free-Masonic players are terified and are unleasing terror-attacks in Lebenan in an effort to derail everything.

A new Soviet-union like setup is absolutely the need of the day to get things strait! The Russins and the Chinese should work togather to drive away the West from Asia and Africa. Then the should establish a territory in South-America to put the US to live in constant fear of missiles raining down on them!
In Response

by: van from: vn
November 20, 2013 9:16 AM
Poor Syrian rebels! Russia, Iran, Hebulla strongly support Assad while rebels receive very little support to fight against Assad. it is clear that Nato and the US has lost heavily in the field.
In Response

by: van from: vn
November 19, 2013 6:45 PM
so you want russian to rule the word or to be the leader of the world.

by: van from: vn
November 19, 2013 12:52 AM
Don’t talk too much about Syria. It will Waste time and money. Just do as Russia did to Georgia : separate Syria into 2 parts : one for Assad and one for Rebels .Only Nato and the US can do this.
Good luck
Expert in Buddhism

by: Anonymous
November 18, 2013 3:03 PM
Why peace talks? Why isn't Bashar al Assad arrested for crimes and facing a jury? Why doesn't Putin actually care about the Syrian people? Could it be that Putin has intentions for Syria that the people of Syria do not want? I believe so... I think most Syrians are upset that Putin butted in front of the world to defend Bashar al Assad who has commited crimes across Syria. Also noted is the fact that 90% of Syrians that died from weaponry died from Russian weapons/bullets/bomblets. Putin would love to keep arms sales to Syria, as well as keep his Navy in Syria. I can't see any Syrian people liking that idea one bit after what Putin has pulled.

It is the people of Syria that make Syria what it is. It is not Bashar al Assad, nor Russia, nor Iran.

Bashar al Assad can easily be replaced by someone who doesn't commit crimes against the people of Syria.

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