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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs