News / Middle East

Annan Finds Mild Response in Russia on Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with UN special envoy Kofi Annan in Moscow, July 17, 2012Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with UN special envoy Kofi Annan in Moscow, July 17, 2012
x
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with UN special envoy Kofi Annan in Moscow, July 17, 2012
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with UN special envoy Kofi Annan in Moscow, July 17, 2012
James Brooke
MOSCOW — As fighting between rebels and government forces raged in the Syrian capital, U.N. envoy Kofi Annan held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Syria's crisis. The response from Syria-ally Russia was largely muted.

But Putin vowed to support the peace effort in Syria. “We will do everything that depends on us to support your efforts,” the Russian leader said.

Annan was in Moscow to line up support in advance of a vote Wednesday at the United Nations on extending the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria.

The mandate expires on Friday. And with street fighting taking place in Damascus, the future of the 300 cease-fire monitors may be in doubt.

After meeting with Putin, Annan said he hopes common ground can be found.

"Obviously, the discussions in the Security Council regarding the resolution also came up. And I would hope that the Council will continue its discussions and hopefully find language that will pull everybody together," Annan said.

Russia supports a simple three-month extension of the observers' mandate. Western powers want language that could open the door to military action by outsiders.

In Russia, that topic is taboo.

Fyodor Lyukanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs magazine, says the Putin government will not budge.

“There is a red line which Russia will never cross. I will say never. This is legitimization of any kind of outside intervention, military intervention in Syria,” Lyukanov said.

For the 16 months of Syria’s uprising, Russia has stood out as the closest ally of the increasingly isolated nation.

But as Moscow digested news of heavy fighting in Damascus, Russian officials took a low profile.

Russia 24, the state-run all news channel, showed no photo of Putin meeting with Annan. Instead, the channel aired lengthy reports on the Russian president coordinating relief to victims of the last week’s flooding in southern Russia.

Separately, a Russian ship carrying refurbished helicopters for Syria took an inexplicable detour to St. Petersburg, adding extra days to its route to the Mediterranean.

Also silent was Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who on Monday gave a lengthy press conference on Syria.

He told reporters that Russia’s influence in Syria is overestimated. He said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not leaving power because he retains substantial popular support.

The Russian foreign minister stressed that Russia was acting on principle -  the non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries.

Lyukanov, the analyst agrees, saying that arm sales and Russia’s naval base at Tartus, Syria are minor issues.

“How this conflict will be settled will serve as a model for future dealing with internal crisis situations in many countries. And that’s what Russia now considers to be important. It’s not about arms sales. It’s not about Tartus base. It’s not about anything else. It’s not about Assad,” Lyukanov said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon headed Tuesday to China for talks with President Hu Jintao. China has joined Russia in vetoing Security Council resolutions calling for tough action against Syria.

The official People's Daily newspaper ran a commentary Tuesday rejecting foreign intervention in the Syrian crisis.

On Wednesday, the visitor to Moscow will be Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Although Turkey is coping with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, analysts here do not predict that he will be able to shift Russia’s hands-off policy.

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

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lаra
July 18, 2012 9:26 AM
Oh,Putin has already deserved a place next to Hitler in a fish bowl,I guess!


by: john from: Taifa
July 18, 2012 7:14 AM
Putin must go, Putin must go, empty rhetoric, what about senator John McCain? He is also a left over of the Vietnam war which America lost miserably.

In Response

by: Mike
July 18, 2012 2:11 PM
John McCain is American Hero. It is a pity that he did not become U.S. president and was elected Obama - very weak and unintelligent president.
McCain understands the nature of the regime of power in Russia, and he knows that Putin from KGB understands only the language of force.


by: Anonymous
July 18, 2012 3:10 AM
Hey you at the Kremlin... Would you mind terribly if Nato or the West would just put an end of this unneeded terror by taking out Assad? Assad is destroying his own country, and people anyway (Which are no longer his...). Just let us deal with the cruel dictator and finish his cleansing once and for all, you can still park your ships there... Lets save some lives today, and live in harmony. What do you say Kremlin?


by: FreedomLover from: USA
July 17, 2012 8:51 PM
Putin needs to go. He is a KGB left over from the cold war that Russia lost miserably. Putin will only destroy Russia. Putin needs a place next to Stalin in a fish bowl. Maybe Putin needs to take his shirt off again so everyone can see his scawney, hairless sunken chest.

In Response

by: Mike
July 17, 2012 9:59 PM
I agree with you completely. But Putin never voluntarily leave his royal position. This is a life-long dictator. In Russia there are no real elections and the majority of people are zombie of Putin's propaganda. So the change of regime in Russia will happen only through revolution. In the latest russian bloodshed would be guilty Putin and his friends from the KGB.


by: beancube2010
July 17, 2012 7:57 PM
There is no tough action on Syria but on Al-Assad. UN sanctions using firepower against the butcher Al-Assad should not be based on those rebels but on the safety of unarmed civilians' lives. Both Assad and rebels are not genuine for peaceful reforms that ordinary Syrians are looking for. Both of them must be taken away. They are threatening neighbor's stabilities in the region as well. Russia have rights to do so as Syrian civilians demand.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
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 Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
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 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