News / Europe

    US, Russia to Organize International Talks on Syria

    Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, May 7, 2013.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, May 7, 2013.
    James Brooke
    After 18 months of chilly relations with Washington, the Kremlin gave a warm welcome Tuesday to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

    Signaling a clear change in tone, President Putin was filmed for national television welcoming the new American Secretary of State. "I think it is very important that our key ministries and agencies, including the foreign ministry, cooperate in finding solutions for the most topical and relevant issues of today’s world," the Russian President told Kerry, who was joined by U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

    Only a year ago, Putin was charging that the State Department, and McFaul in particular, were encouraging street demonstrations against him. Then the Kremlin unilaterally ended a series of American programs here, dragging relations between Washington and the Kremlin to their lowest point since the Cold War.

    Putin said he looked forward to meeting with President Obama next month on the sidelines of the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland. Then, in a rare move for this protocol conscious country, the Russian President held an hour long meeting with Kerry, who is the equivalent of a Foreign Minister.

    • Rebel fighters of the Syrian Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) talk in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo, May 9, 2013.
    • A view shows damaged buildings and debris in the Khaldiyeh district of Homs, May 9, 2013.
    • Syrian children play near a water distribution point in the Almyassar central district of Aleppo, May 8, 2013.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter holds his weapon in Raqqa province, east Syria, May 6, 2013.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter stands behind a pile of sandbags in Raqqa province, east Syria, May 6, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters prepare to head toward the front line in the al-Ziyabiya area, Damascus, May 5, 2013.
    • An armored vehicle is seen parked as Free Syrian Army fighters gather on a street in the refugee camp of Yarmouk, near Damascus, May 5, 2013.
    • This image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News shows smoke and fire filling the the skyline after an Israeli airstrike, Damascus, May 5, 2013.
    • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows damaged buildings wrecked by an Israeli airstrike in Damascus, May 5, 2013.
    • This image provided by ENN shows a protester with a sign reading "If America does not know who used the chemical weapons, so it could be flying saucers from another planet," Sarmada, Idlib, Syria, May 3, 2013.
    • A man reacts after his grandson was injured during what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Raqqa province, Syria, May 2, 2013. 
    • Residents inspect a damaged building that was shelled by forces activists say were loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Raqqa province, Syria, May 2, 2013.
    • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visiting the Umayyad Electrical Station, Damascus, Syria, May 1, 2013.

    Later, Kerry held talks with Sergei Lavrov, Russia's longest serving foreign minister. Kerry said: "Russia and the United States can cooperate on some significant challenges that we face now and make very real contributions to the possibilities of stability and peace, in places like the Middle East, Syria."

    Kerry and Lavrov announced at a news conference that their two countries will try to arrange an international conference on ending the conflict in Syria - and will seek to bring together the Syrian government and opposition at that conference, possibly by the end of this month.

    Russia has three times vetoed US-backed moves in the United Nations to impose sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. Washington hopes to enlist Moscow’s support in crafting a political solution to the war that has taken 70,000 lives.

    Kerry stressed other areas where the U.S. and Russia now work together, ranging from Start 2, WTO, Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan.

    Russian and American officials apparently believe the political calendar now gives both governments a chance for further cooperation. Last year, elections in both countries produced nationalist campaign rhetoric.

    Now, there are two Putin-Obama meetings scheduled between June and September.

    Oddly, the Boston Marathon bombings last month speeded up the process of renewing dialogue. On Tuesday, Putin noted that he had talked twice in recent days by telephone with President Obama. The subject was better security cooperation.

    The main suspect in the Boston bombings was Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a Russian citizen who spent six months last year in Dagestan, Russia’s main conflict zone with Islamic extremists. Putin has said the bombings highlight the need for both countries to overcome their differences and do a better job of information sharing.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.