• Switzerland edition
 
Gorbachev urges US-Russia deal on Syria
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Gorbachev urges US-Russia deal on Syria

Published: 04 Sep 2013 18:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 Sep 2013 18:50 GMT+02:00

The G20 summit, which starts in Russia on Thursday, comes with many analysts describing US-Russia relations as at their lowest ebb since Gorbachev helped end the Cold War two decades ago.
   
No official bilateral meeting is planned between Obama and Putin at the summit, but a White House official on Wednesday said the two are expected "to have an opportunity to speak on the margins" of the G20 meetings.
   
"I urge the president of the United States to take a very responsible stance on this problem, and I hope that the meeting between him and President Putin will take place," Gorbachev said in an interview with AFP and Tribune de Genève in Geneva, where he was marking the 20th anniversary of his Green Cross environmental foundation.
   
"There is an opportunity in this very severe situation to find a way out and to move towards a solution including an international conference on Syria, a solution that should certainly be found without circumventing the United Nations," the Nobel Peace Prize winner added.
   
While Washington and Moscow insist they both aim to get the warring parties to the table, Syria's ally Russia has fiercely opposed Western attempts to bring President Bashar al-Assad to heel.
   
Washington has lamented Moscow's decision to block any UN Security Council action to censure Assad or to use military action against his regime.
   
Western claims that Syrian forces used chemical weapons against civilians last month have sharpened the debate, but Putin on Wednesday demanded "convincing" proof of the claims and warned against US "aggression" against Syria.
   
Gorbachev, who has locked horns with Putin in the past on domestic policy, said Moscow's position on Syria was "quite constructive".
   
Syria's civil war, which broke out in 2011, has claimed more than 100,000 lives, displaced millions and raised the spectre of a spillover of conflict into neighbouring nations.
   
Gorbachev, 82, said the international community must be level-headed.
   
"I think that we've seen situations in the past that were more dangerous and where we were nevertheless able to find a solution and to find a way out," he said.
   
"A lot will depend on the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

"They need to show the Cold War is over, that they are able to work together," he said.
   
Gorbachev took a jab at France, a vocal supporter of intervention in Syria.
   
"I was surprised that France, instead of supporting an international conference, is taking its current position on Syria," he said.

"I think that France will have to change its position." 

The potential involvement of Syria's ally Iran in peace talks has been a major bone of contention for the West, but Gorbachev said it would be essential.
   
"I believe that we should engage Iran, involve Iran increasingly, in the search for international solutions to problems, certainly including this one," he said.

Jonathan Fowler/AFP (news@thelocal.ch )

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Petkovic selects squad ahead of England game
Switzerland's Bosnian coach Vladimir Petkovic reveals his squad during a press conference. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Petkovic selects squad ahead of England game

Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic on Friday brought Olympiakos midfielder Pajtim Kasami back into the football team and called up three new faces for their opening Euro 2016 qualifier against England. READ  

Fribourg Jazz Parade officially bankrupt
The Jazz festival had accumulated significant debts. Photo: Link-Art/Francois Gendre

Fribourg Jazz Parade officially bankrupt

The Jazz Parade in Marly, canton of Fribourg, whose 26th edition was cancelled in July due to heavy rains and “internal problems”, has been declared bankrupt. READ  

Expats boost high rise in Swiss population
Photo: Richard Allaway

Expats boost high rise in Swiss population

Over two-thirds of Switzerland’s population growth in 2013 can be attributed to foreign immigrants, according to figures published by the Swiss federal office of statistics (BFS). READ  

No repatriation plan for Swiss Ebola victims
Swiss air rescue service Rega is not equipped to deal with the challenges of Ebola. Photo: Rega

No repatriation plan for Swiss Ebola victims

Switzerland does not have the resources to repatriate Swiss victims of the Ebola virus from disease-hit countries and must rely on foreign help, according to a newspaper report published on Thursday. READ  

French base jumper dies after crashing into tree
More than 35 people have died base-jumping in Lauterbrunnen. Photo: Caroline Bishop

French base jumper dies after crashing into tree

A French base-jumper died near Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Oberland on Wednesday afternoon after crash-landing into a tree, Bern cantonal police confirmed on Thursday. READ  

Geneva group seeks ways to govern internet
WEF's Klaus Schwab: avoiding "fragmenting" the internet. Photo: AFP/File

Geneva group seeks ways to govern internet

The Geneva-based World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the internet. READ  

Media executive jailed in latest 'sexting' case
Photo: Junpal Abe

Media executive jailed in latest 'sexting' case

A 57-year-old man who passed himself off as a 12-year-old girl in online chatrooms in order to obtain naked photos of children was sentenced to four and a half years in prison by a Zurich district court on Wednesday. READ  

Swiss bank Lombard Odier reveals profits
Lombard Odier is the second Swiss private bank in a week to publish its profits. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Swiss bank Lombard Odier reveals profits

Swiss private bank Lombard Odier has published its first results since its foundation over two centuries ago, as the ultra-discreet sector puts its books in the spotlight. READ  

Police car kills man lying on Fribourg motorway
The police car was travelling to an altercation in Payerne. Photo: Alain Rouiller

Police car kills man lying on Fribourg motorway

A police car hit and killed a 22-year-old man who was lying in the middle of the A1 motorway near Bussy in the canton of Fribourg in the early hours of Thursday morning. READ  

Swiss pick Swedes as ideal neighbours
Two-thirds of the Swiss surveyed would choose Sweden as their neighbour. Photo: Florian Prischl

Swiss pick Swedes as ideal neighbours

Despite launching a campaign to help Chinese people tell the difference between them, it turns out Switzerland and Sweden feel akin after all. Swiss people would rather have the nation of Ikea and ABBA as their neighbour than any other EU country, according to a new survey. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
National
Swiss policeman belatedly honoured for saving Jews from Holocaust
National
'Suicide tourists' to Switzerland double in three years: study
National
Swiss Post SMS scheme gets stamp of approval after pilot project
Business & Money
American tax evasion crackdown hits Swiss private banks' bottom line
Politics
Woman accuses Swiss politician in nude selfies scandal of lying
National
Villagers in Graubünden valley reject hydro plant to protect vultures
Business & Money
Court rules against appellation for absinthe from Neuchâtel valley
National
Two hundred passengers rescued after landslide derails Swiss train
Travel
Switzerland remains world champion for per capita train travel
Culture
Social media backlash forces Polanski to bow out of Locarno film festival
National
Two policemen identified among three Israelis killed in train crash
Features
Untouched Alps: The Local explores Switzerland's only national park
National
Swiss government secretary tweets nude ‘selfies’ taken at work
International
Swiss couples fined in Ibiza for making love in van without seatbelts
National
Schumacher medical record theft suspect hangs himself in Zurich cell
National
Thousands of motorists drive without permits in Switzerland: report
National
Switzerland celebrates the centennial of national park in Graubünden
National
Animal rights group protests over dead fish throwing at festival
National
Federer forced to tear down kids' play area at Graubünden holiday home
National
Zurich taxis charge world’s most expensive fares: new survey
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,039
jobs available