UN envoy still ‘worried’ after talks with al-Assad


Tue, Dec 25, 2012 - Page 1

The international envoy tasked with pushing to end Syria’s civil war said the situation was still “worrying” after discussing the crisis with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad yesterday.

The remarks gave no indication of progress toward a negotiated solution to the conflict.

In brief comments to reporters after meeting the Syrian leader in Damascus, UN-Arab League peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said he and al-Assad exchanged views on the conflict and discussed possible steps forward, which he did not disclose.

“The situation in Syria is still worrying and we hope that all the parties will go toward the solution that the Syrian people are hoping for and look forward to,” Brahimi said.

Syria’s state news agency quoted al-Assad as saying his government supports “any effort in the interest of the Syrian people which preserves the homeland’s sovereignty and independence.”

The two met after a government airstrike in a rebel-held town in central Syria killed more than 60 people on Sunday, according to activists.

Brahimi has made little progress toward brokering an end to the conflict since starting his job in September, mostly because both sides refuse to talk to each other.

The government describes the rebels as foreign-backed terrorists set on destroying the country. The opposition says forces under al-Assad’s command have killed too many people for him to be part of any solution.

Brahimi’s two-day visit was to end later yesterday. It is his third to Damascus as an envoy of the UN and the Arab League.

The security situation in Damascus and elsewhere in the country has declined since Brahimi’s previous visits. Instead of flying in to Damascus International Airport as on earlier visits, Brahimi drove to Damascus from Beirut because of fighting near the airport.