May 31, 2013 |
Given the failure of previous efforts to find a diplomatic solution to Syria's civil war, it might seem the height of naivete for the United States to join Russia - the protector and arms supplier of President Bashar Assad - in trying to arrange an international peace conference. But, given the alternatives, the Obama administration is right to pursue that possibility and to press Syrian opposition groups to participate, even without a guarantee that Assad would step aside. Prospects for the proposed conference in Geneva, already uncertain, worsened Thursday when opposition leaders said they wouldn't send representatives until Iranian and Hezbollah fighters left the country and "massacres" stopped.
May 30, 2013 |
Getting into wars is easier than getting out of them. Could the same logic apply to peace conferences? Indeed, could U.S. diplomacy - however well intentioned - actually make matters worse? Secretary of State John F. Kerry has two diplomatic tracks in the works: ending a civil war in Syria and promoting a peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Both will be difficult to get started, but the real challenge will come the day after. Diplomatic conferences and events are usually good for one of two things: launching a serious process of negotiation or concluding one. What the U.S. confronts with both the Syrian civil war and the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is a kind of twilight zone that's betwixt and between.
May 29, 2013 |
TEHRAN -- Iran hosted a peace conference on Syria on Wednesday titled "Political Solution, Regional Stability. " The Iranian news media dubbed the gathering in Tehran the "Friends of Syria Conference," a term used by a coalition of Western and Arab states that support the Syrian opposition forces fighting against forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. It came as Russian and U.S. officials are trying to organize a peace conference on Syria in Geneva next month. Iran, Assad's key regional ally, has yet to be invited to the Geneva conference, spurring some observers to believe Wednesday's conference was a move by Tehran to portray itself as an important player. Iranian media reported that officials from 40 countries and representatives from regional and international organizations were to take part in the conference.
May 28, 2013 |
BEIRUT - With violence increasingly spilling over Syria's borders, refugees swamping its neighbors and new arms transfers to both sides on the horizon, a solution to the Syrian conflict has rarely seemed so urgent - and so far beyond reach. U.S. and Russian officials this month raised hope for a peace conference that could lead to a transitional government and, eventually, free elections. The accord between Washington and Moscow, long at loggerheads on Syria, followed a United Nations-backed formula long ignored as outside powers on both sides pushed their Syrian proxies for victory.
May 24, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has agreed "in principle" to participate in a U.S.- and Russian-sponsored peace conference aimed at ending the violence in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday. Moscow learned of the decision to take part during a recent visit by Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad, ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters in the Russian capital. There was no immediate confirmation from Damascus. Organizers hope to hold the peace talks early next month in Geneva.
May 24, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has agreed “in principle” to participate in a U.S.-Russian sponsored peace conference aimed at ending the violence in Syria, Russia officials said Friday. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters in Moscow that Assad's administration had agreed to take part in the session. No precise date has been set, but reports indicate that the sponsors are hopeful of conducting the conference early next month in Geneva.