Brahimi Meets Top U.S., Russian Officials: We Stressed Need for Speedy End to Bloodshed

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U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Friday expressed the urgent need to end the Syrian conflict after meeting with top U.S. and Russian officials, but reported no concrete advances towards a solution.

"We all stressed the need for a speedy end to the bloodshed and the destruction and all forms of violence in Syria," Brahimi told reporters in Geneva, following more than five hours of talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

"We stressed again that in our view there was no military solution to this conflict. We underscored the necessity to reach a political solution based on the Geneva communique of June 30 last year," he added.

The Geneva roadmap calls among other things for the creation of a transitional government, although it makes no mention of the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has repeatedly said he has no plans to leave.

The Syrian opposition however has made Assad's ouster a condition for entering into talks, although Brahimi hinted Friday they might not object to some people connected with the Assad regime taking part in the transitional body.

Brahimi meanwhile seemed to avoid questions on what specific progress had been made at the meeting.

"If you are asking me whether a solution is around the corner, I'm not sure if that is the case," was all he would say, stressing instead the need for the international community to work harder to end the bloodshed.

"It is the wider international community and especially the members of the (United Nations) Security Council that can really create the opening that is necessary to start effectively solving the problem," he said.

He said he would later this month brief the Security Council on his meeting with top U.S. and Russian diplomats, and also the results of his recent trip to Damascus to meet Assad and the opposition.

Friday's meeting was the second one between the three men, often referred to as "The Three Bs", in a month.

They met for a top-secret meeting in Geneva on December 9, only three days after an initial trilateral meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Brahimi in Dublin.

The three-way talks have taken an increasingly central role in the search for a solution to the 22-month conflict, which the U.N. estimates has left over 60,000 dead.

Taking place a day after the Assad regime accused Brahimi of "flagrant bias", there had meanwhile been little optimism that the talks would actually move the bloody conflict closer to an end.

Damascus lashed out at the veteran Algerian diplomat after he described proposals Assad made on Sunday for a "political solution" to the conflict as "one-sided".

Comments 3
Thumb LEBhasNOhope 11 January 2013, 19:54

They have been saying that since day one. Meanwhile 2 years later....

Thumb lebnanfirst 11 January 2013, 20:00

Alas, it appears that the Syrians will not be seeing an end to the conflict anytime soon. For the life of me I can't see the benefits the Russians will accrue as a result of prolonging the Syrian agony by continuing to prop up this dictator. One can understand Iran's motives even if one disagrees with them but the Russian motives are very murky.
The longer the Russians prop up Assad, the more they will be hated by the Sunni Syrians and by extension the vast Sunni Arab world. What could be their hidden caveat? Anyone has any ideas?

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 11 January 2013, 21:11

short sided gain of selling weapons to them?