Entries in Lakhdar Brahimi (13)


Syria Denounces UN Envoy

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- In yet another setback to the quest of finding a quick end to the conflict in Syria, Damascus is now casting aspersions on United Nations and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

Ahead of Brahimi's meeting Friday with U.S. and Russia officials in Geneva, Syria's Foreign Ministry accused the veteran diplomat of being "flagrantly biased for those who are conspiring against Syria and its people."

Damascus is apparently upset with Brahimi for dropping his broadest hint yet that a post-war Syria is not possible if President Bashar al-Assad remains at the helm.

The envoy's predecessor, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, quit in frustration last summer when he felt that negotiating with al-Assad was no longer an option -- a scenario that might be developing again.

There remains a chance that Syria is merely posturing as Brahimi prepares to sit down with negotiators from Washington and Moscow although Russia has also made it clear that resolving the nearly two-year-long civil war does not necessarily come with the prerequisite that al-Assad leave power.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Special Envoy to Syria Counting on Geneva Plan to End Conflict

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- The United Nations-Arab League special envoy put in charge of helping to bring an end to the 21-month conflict in Syria made a somewhat cryptic remark Sunday about having a proposal that could achieve his goal.

Following a meeting with Arab League officials in Cairo, Lakhdar Brahimi said that this plan "could be adopted by the international community."  It is apparently based on an agreement that was approved by world diplomats in Geneva in early 2012.

While Brahimi did not elaborate beyond that, the Geneva plan as previously stated includes a ceasefire, the creation of a transitional government and free elections.

However, it does not specify what will happen to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who remains adamant about remaining in power and has vowed to crush an opposition he calls "the terrorists."

So far, the fighting has cost 45,000 lives and already forced more than half a million people to flee Syria, with potentially 500,000 more becoming refugees in 2013, especially if Damascus is drawn further into the conflict.

According to Brahimi, the fighting is "getting worse by the day."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UN Envoy to Syria Holds Talks with Both Sides in Conflict

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/GettyImages(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Special United Nations envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi met with President Bashar al-Assad and a dissident group over a 24-hour period to try and craft a resolution to the 21-month conflict that has cost an estimated 45,000 lives.

Judging by the outcome of the talks, Brahimi, who is also retained by the Arab League, still has much work ahead of him.

The diplomat first held discussions with al-Assad on Monday and was non-committal to reporters about any progress that was achieved, saying, “Assad expressed his views on the situation and I told him about my meetings with leaders in the region and outside.”

On Tuesday, Brahimi spoke with the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change in Damascus, which is allowed to exist without interference by the government.

A representative for the envoy said afterwards, “A political solution is the only solution, and this means the establishment of a new democratic regime instead of the current regime.”

Meanwhile, the French daily newspaper Le Figaro reported that Moscow and Damascus are proposing an initiative to end the conflict that would allow al-Assad to remain in power until 2014, something his opponents in Syria, as well as most throughout the international community, firmly reject.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UN Envoy to Meet with Syrian President

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- United Nations Special Envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi is making another attempt at trying to end the bloody 21-month-long conflict that has roiled the Middle East by meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday.

Expectations aren't high, as al-Assad has shown no signs that he's willing to end the military crackdown that began in March 2011 against proponents of democratic reform.

Since then, the conflict has escalated into sectarian warfare that has pervaded all corners of Syria, with at least 40,000 dead and an estimated one million refugees predicted to leave the country by mid-2013.  Reports of torture and other atrocities are occurring on both sides.

Even as al-Assad appears determined to win a military victory, virtually all international observers, including staunch Syrian ally Russia, agree that the only resolution will come through negotiations, which is the message Brahimi will be carrying to the Syrian president.

However, it might take Moscow to finally convince al-Assad to step down even as it refuses to offer him asylum. 

Brahimi will soon be speaking with Russian leaders in hope of trying to push them toward convincing al-Assad that he must agree to a negotiated settlement for the good of Syria and the rest of the region.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Worries About Syria Prompt US and Russian Talks

Win McNamee/Getty Images(DUBLIN) -- The U.S. stepped up efforts Thursday to try and reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with her Russian counterpart during a human rights conference in Dublin, Ireland.

Moscow has been reluctant to get on board with most of the international community in calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down even as reports heat up that the Syrian government could be on the verge of using lethal nerve gas on its enemies.

Clinton spoke with both Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as well as United Nations special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi about jump-starting a process that might establish a genuine ceasefire after several failed attempts.

Brahimi indicated no major breakthrough occurred between Clinton and Lavrov that could be considered a plan although "we have agreed that the situation is bad and we have agreed that we must continue to work together to see how we can find creative ways of bringing this problem under control and hopefully starting to solve it."

The mini-conference with Brahimi was actually the second time the U.S. and Russia diplomats spoke on Thursday.

Clinton told reporters, "We have been trying hard to work with Russia to try to stop the bloodshed in Syria and start a political transition for a post-Assad Syrian future."

The crisis began in March 2011 with Syrians demanding democratic reform.  It has since escalated into a major armed conflict, costing tens of thousands of lives with Washington now fearing that al-Assad is desperate enough to use deadly chemical weapons to remain in power.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Quick Cessation of Syrian Ceasefire

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- The temporary ceasefire in Syria brokered by the United Nations and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was broken before the ink had barely dried on the pact between President Bashar al-Assad's government and rebel forces.

Both sides had agreed to a four-day armistice that was to have begun last Friday at the beginning of the religious holiday Eid al-Adha.

Within hours, there were reports of violence as each side blamed the other for violating the truce. By Sunday morning, the ceasefire was all but obliterated as government war jets bombarded rebel strongholds on Damascus' outskirts.

Fighting was also reported at the usual hot spots around Syria as the death toll started mounting again on Sunday.  It's estimated that well over 30,000 have been killed in the conflict dating back to March 2011.

Brahimi is expected to present new proposals to the U.N. Security Council next month in another attempt to find a way to end the fighting.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UN Envoy Warns of Spread of Syria's Violence

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(BEIRUT) -- Desperate to forge an agreement that would mean a four-day respite from violence in Syria, the United Nation's special envoy warned on Wednesday that the 19-month conflict is on the verge of spilling over into the entire region.

Lakhdar Brahimi, who was in Beirut to present his plan to Lebanese leaders, said, "This crisis cannot remain within Syrian borders indefinitely.  Either it will be addressed or it will increase...and be all-consuming."

An estimated 30,000 people have been killed since March 2011 and the death toll has increased exponentially over the past two months, with at least 1,000 fatalities reported per week.

Brahimi has been traveling through the Middle East getting the Arab League and Iran to sign off on his plan calling for a ceasefire in Syria over four days during the Islamic feast holiday of Eid al-Adha beginning next week.

As for the main parties, Brahimi suggested that President Bashar al-Assad is leaning towards the temporary armistice but worries that opposition forces won't abide by it.  Conversely, the rebels have said they'd agree but doubt that government forces will keep the peace.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UN Envoy Trying to Negotiate Temporary Syrian Ceasefire

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Talks are currently underway with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to observe a four-day ceasefire over the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday at the end of October that would provide a brief respite from the fighting between the Syrian military and rebel forces that has resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives.

The discussions were initiated by United Nations special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who apparently has had conversations with other leaders in the Arab world to explore the feasibility of the plan.

Signs of a breakthrough were evident Tuesday as an official with the Syrian foreign ministry announced, "The Syrian side is interested in exploring this option and we are looking forward to talking to Mr. Brahimi to see what is the position of other influential countries that he has talked to in his tour."

Syria says other governments have to put pressure on the rebels to accept the terms of any ceasefire proposal.

Whether anything will come of it is uncertain since two previous attempts at an armistice during the course of the 19-month long conflict only intensified the government's crackdown on opposition forces.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UN Special Envoy to Syria Describes 'Very Grim' Situation

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a blunt assessment of the situation in Syria far bleaker than his predecessor ever gave, United Nations special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said on Monday that substantial change, not reform, is the only answer to the 19-month conflict that threatens to spill over into the entire region.

Brahimi, who only recently replaced Kofi Annan, pronounced conditions in Syria as "very, very grim" and dismissed out of hand President Bashar al-Assad's solution of a "reform agenda" without directly criticizing the leader he met earlier this month.

Brahimi is in New York City for the annual United Nations General Assembly session in which the civil war in Syria is bound to share center stage with other major crises facing the international community.

The veteran Algerian negotiator had lowered expectations of what could be accomplished in Syria following the abrupt resignation of Annan, who expressed frustration with both sides in the conflict, although most say al-Assad's ruthlessness and intransigence is largely to blame for the violence that has killed an estimated 30,000 people and left an estimated 1.5 million Syrians in the midst of a humanitarian crisis.  

As for the opposition in Syria, Brahimi said the divisions among militias aren't helping matters even though their common goal is to depose al-Assad.

Following talks with the U.N. Security Council, Brahimi showed a glimmer of optimism, saying that he had developed a full plan of how to proceed: "I think that we will find an opening in the not too distant future."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New UN Envoy to Syria Plays Down Talks with Bashar Al-Assad

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/GettyImages(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Miracles aren't expected to come out of United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus later this week.

Brahimi replaced Kofi Annan, who expressed frustration with the refusal of the Syrian government and rebels to negotiate a settlement to the nearly 19-month-long conflict that has cost tens of thousands of lives.

If anything, the fighting has intensified and the daily death toll has grown over the past few months.

Brahimi has already dampened expectations about what will come out of his talks with al-Assad, who refuses to step down from office as a way to bring about democratic reform, which is the goal of opposition forces.

According to Brahimi, his appeals to al-Assad to try and reach a peaceful end to the crisis will come at the behest of the Syrian people.  He says they will be his only "master" while conferring with the Syrian leader.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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