News / Middle East

UN Chief Discusses Syria with Russian Officials

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin smile as they meet at Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Black Sea resort of Sochi, May 17, 2013.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin smile as they meet at Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Black Sea resort of Sochi, May 17, 2013.
VOA News
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Russia, where he said it is important to not "lose momentum" in setting up a peace conference on Syria next month.

Ban told reporters Friday that momentum gained by talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov should be built upon, not wasted. He said a U.N. team is ready at any time to investigate claims that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against rebels.

Lavrov has said the sooner an international peace conference on Syria is held, the better. He also called on Syria to let chemical weapons inspectors into the country.

France's Foreign Ministry said Friday it opposes Iranian participation in the Syrian peace talks.  A spokesman says France cannot see how a country that threatens regional stability like Iran can take part.

Lavrov has said Iran, a close Syrian ally, must be included in the talks.  He accuses the United States and the West of trying to narrow the circle of participants.

  • This citizen journalism image provided by ENN shows black smoke rising from what rebels say is a helicopter that was shot down at Abu Dhour military airbase, Idlib, Syria, May 17, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army member prays next to the grave of a fellow fighter in a cemetery in Deir el-Zor, May 16, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army members sit in a room inside a house in Deir el-Zor, May 16, 2013.
  • Crews demolish one of the damaged buildings at the site of the May 11 blast, in Reyhanli, Hatay province, May 15, 2013.
  • Members of the Free Syrian Army help a wounded fellow fighter in Deir al-Zor, May 14, 2013.
  • This image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC shows the mother of a Syrian rebel cleaning a rifle, in Aleppo, May 14, 2013.
  • Syrians wait to cross back into Syria at the Turkish Cilvegozu border crossing in Reyhanli, Hatay province, May 14, 2013.
  • A view of the damaged Khalid ibn al Walid Mosque in Homs, Syria, May 14, 2013.
  • Syrian army soldiers inspect a house as they advance in on the village of Western Dumayna, near the rebel held city of Qusayr, May 13, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center shows the famed 12th century Umayyad mosque in Aleppo, which was damaged by shelling, May 13, 2013.

The United States has not yet said who can attend, saying it does not want to make any pre-determinations.

The New York Times reported Friday that Russia has sent more advanced anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria. At the same time, Russia says it has no interest in seeing Syrian President Bashar al- Assad remain in power.

You May Like

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
May 18, 2013 7:46 PM
Seeing on the news Russia has just armed Assad with missiles, it is time we arm the Syrian people to the max, so they can get the war over with and serve Bashar al Assad his long awaited justice for the murder of thousands and thousands. It is time the people of Syria get fully armed, and the world boycotts russia for their governments pathetic decisions. Russia needs a slap across the face from the world and for years to come to be isolated.

by: Shiekh Azam from: Jordan
May 17, 2013 6:36 PM
Putin will not abandon Assad the way Obama stabbed Mubarak in the back... Obama appeasement policy toward Muslim Brotherhood - in fact encouragement... is not good for US...
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
May 18, 2013 10:41 AM
Actually the US has been found wanton in issues like this. It has become worse in the present regime. No thought is wasted to find out how former dependable allies will feel when abandoned. It will go into the records as one of the areas the Obama/Clinton administration excelled - abandonment of former allies at the crux of their needs. That will also warn future and current allies of whether this administration is dependable or not. Surely Mubarak, Gaddafi and Assad must regret cooperation with USA. Not good for the image of a country even if it was a superpower.

by: Hatem Zaki from: Egypt
May 17, 2013 5:30 PM
The Syrian scene is not clear enough for us .sometimes we sympathize with the rebels sometimes not .there are videos on youtube show how the rebels are monsters .after the down of Arab spring the calculations have changed . in Egypt they afraid of the rebels because they are Islamists

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
May 17, 2013 2:12 PM
Russia is being sensitive and proactive in ensuring that Assad is not disgraced out of office. Assad may not be wanted by the Syrian people any more, but that is not to say he must go the way of Moammar Gaddafi of Libya. Give him a chance to transit the present government and a chance to live, and he will hand over power. At the moment no government has offered him asylum, his instinct to live is alive.

Russia is playing to ensure that the minorities whom the extremist elements in the opposition government are fighting to eliminate remain relevant both to the region and Syria. I do not understand what is the sin of Assad for which his head is called for by the West. There is no need for either Iran or Saudi Arabia to be involved in the conflict resolution except to prolong the war in favor of arms dealers and a reduction of the Syrian population

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
May 17, 2013 10:26 AM
The Russian gvmt's move to sent more weapons, especially advanced weapons to Syria is totally counterproductive to compromise and peace. In addition, concerns already exist about chem/bio weapons falling into extremists hands; now the shear folly of the Russian gvmt, will also place more concerns of these advanced weapons falling into the wrong hands, or even being transferred to terrorist groups by Assad and his chronies.

Instead of de-escalating the ability to carry out war, the Russian gvmt's move makes it imperative that these weapons be destroyed as soon as there is any posibility that they may fall into the wrong hands, or if there is any indication that they are being transferred. Great stupidity, because now there is more weapons that need to be watched, and more to be destroyed upon a judgement call.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs