News / Middle East

US, Russia to Continue Syria Talks

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures as she gives a speech at Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland, December 6, 2012.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures as she gives a speech at Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland, December 6, 2012.
Al Pessin
— U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says American and Russian officials will meet in the next few days to try to find ways to work together to end the violence in Syria. The two powers have been on opposite sides of the more than year-long conflict, but Clinton met with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov this week in Ireland.

In remarks Friday, Clinton said there was no "breakthrough" during the meeting with the Russian envoy.  But they did agree to form lower-level teams to work with United Nations and Arab League envoy Lakhtar Brahimi on a common way forward.

"Both Minister Lavrov and I committed to support a renewed push by Brahimi and his team to work with all the stakeholders in Syria to begin a political transition," said Clinton.

Clinton adds that transition must result in a "unified, democratic Syria," one that includes representatives of all Syrian ethnic and religious groups.  And she added one condition that Russia has opposed, as the chief foreign ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"A future of this kind cannot possibly include Assad," Clinton noted.  "So we go into these discussions with a clear sense of what we want to see accomplished, but a realistic understanding of how difficult it still is."

Clinton, Lavrov and Brahimi met in Dublin on Thursday.  The secretary spoke about the meeting on Friday during a brief stop in Belfast.

She says it's important for any country with influence in the Middle East to explore all possible solutions because developments in Syria, in her words, "are increasingly dangerous not only to Syrians, but to their neighbors."

The secretary was apparently referring to rebel advances, particularly around Damascus, and to reports that Syria's army might be preparing for the possible use of chemical weapons against them.

Both the United States and Russia have said such a move would be unacceptable, and U.S. officials have hinted that it might trigger military intervention, which so far the international community has avoided.

In a move apparently aimed at reassuring supporters of President Assad, both in Syria and in Russia, Clinton served notice on Syria's many rebel groups that United States expects them to respect the rights of all Syrians if they come to power.

"We're going to be holding every party to the same standard," Clinton added.  "This is not just a one-sided dialogue.  It has to be one that is inclusive, but everyone must understand what is expected of them."

Secretary Clinton heads home Friday, but she will cross the Atlantic again next week to attend a meeting in Morocco of the Friends of the Syrian People, an international group that wants President Assad to resign.  That meeting is expected to formally accept the reorganized Syrian opposition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, and will serve as another opportunity to push for Assad's ouster.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid