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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs