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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid