Thursday, May 16, 2013

 

Turkish PM to Press US on Syria


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to press the United States to take a more active role in response to the situation in Syria as he meets Thursday with President Barack Obama at the White House.

President Barack Obama, right, meets with Turkey's Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, May 16, 2013, in the
Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. 


 White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the leaders will discuss ways to bring an "essential" transition to Syria.  Those include aid to the Syrian people and to rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad, as well as support for a proposed peace conference that could take place next month in Geneva.

 He said Obama remains committed to the goal of a Syria without Assad that reflects the will and rights of its people.

 A Turkish minister accompanying Erdogan in Washington said Ankara believes stopping the Assad government from indiscriminate killing of its own people is a priority.

 Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bagis said the United States and Turkey can achieve that goal only by persuading all members of the U.N. Security Council to take action.

 "I think President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan will be able to discuss new challenges and opportunities to convince the international community in terms of taking the necessary measures to stop the bloody Assad regime," Bagis said.

 Erdogan will also meet Thursday with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Prime Minister Erdogan expected to ask United States
to play more active role in Syrian crisis


 The talks come less than a week after two car bombs exploded in a Turkish town near the Syrian border, killing 51 people in an attack Turkey blamed on Syria.

 During the more than two-year crisis in Syria, Turkey has given shelter to Syrian rebels as well as thousands of refugees.

 Kerry said Wednesday the United States and Russia are "very hopeful" that plans to hold peace talks in June are progressing.  He said the peace drive is based a proposal announced last year for the creation of a transitional government in Syria "with full executive authority by mutual consent," ambiguous wording which deliberately leaves President Bashar al-Assad's future role unclear.

 Also Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn the Syrian government's "escalation" of the country's war and backed the role of the opposition Syrian National Coalition as party to a potential political transition.

 The non-binding resolution, drafted by Qatar, passed with 107 votes in favor, 12 against and 59 abstentions -- an outcome with less support than a similar declaration issued by the General Assembly last year.

 The resolution demands that Syria give a United Nations team free access to investigate alleged uses of chemical weapons. That team - authorized by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon - is ready to deploy, but Syria has not allowed it into the country.

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