Syria says envoy can only succeed if rebels lose outside support

BEIRUT Mon Sep 3, 2012 8:48am EDT

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria said on Monday new U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi could only make headway if outside countries ceased helping rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad and instead declared support for a U.N.-backed peace plan.

Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat, has picked up the baton from former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, who drew up the six-point plan for Syria, but a ceasefire he declared on April 12 failed to take hold. Violence has worsened since then.

"The conditions for success for Lakhdar Brahimi in his mission is for specific countries - Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - to announce their commitment to the six-point plan and completely stop sending weapons (to rebels) and close borders to fighters and close fighter training camps," Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi told a news conference in Damascus.

"The ball is not in the Syrian court, the ball is in the Saudi, Qatari, Turkish, European and U.S. court," he said.

Damascus verbally accepted Annan's plan in April, but failed to implement its main call for an end to violence and a pullout of Syrian troops and heavy weapons from towns and cities.

Syria has long accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of supporting rebels during the 17-month-old anti-Assad uprising and says neighboring Turkey allows fighters to train on its soil.

Brahimi told the BBC in an interview broadcast on Monday that diplomatic attempts to end the conflict were "nearly impossible.

Annan, his predecessor, resigned as U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria last month after blaming "finger-pointing and name-calling" at the U.N. Security Council for hampering his efforts.

More than 20,000 people have been killed in Syria since protests against Assad's rule first erupted in March 2011.

Zoabi also took aim at newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, who said last week that solidarity with the Syrian people "against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy is an ethical duty" and a strategic necessity.

"After (President Hosni) Mubarak fled and his place was filled with another president, the only difference between him and Mubarak was his beard," Zoabi said, adding that Mursi was supporting Israel and had not helped the Palestinian cause.

"Spilt Syrian blood is the responsibility of Mohamed Mursi and those like him because he sends weapons and money and (provides) political support (to the rebels)."

(Reporting by Dominic Evans and Oliver Holmes; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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Comments (1)
kafantaris wrote:
The mission of the new U.N. envoy to Syria is not only “impossible” but also naive. Perhaps the U.N. sees no harm in sending Lakhdar Brahimi to Syria, but it is utterly foolish for him to be there waiving a white flag in the mist of aerial bombings and intense ground fighting.
Indeed, even if peace was still plausible, it would mean loss of power for Assad and his henchmen — or their answering for war crimes, as they had reached the point of no return to civilized governance long ago. Their only hope now is to fight the rebellion and carve out a chunk of Syria for their refuge.
The Iranian regime is absolutely determined to help Assad do this — which is precisely why the path through Syria has become our gateway to Iran.
And let us not fool ourselves: That regime will have to be confronted militarily, sooner or later. The time to do so is now when we have other nations by our side going into Syria.
As for Russia and China, these two are reasonable opponents and will do what is best for them — and the rabid Iranian regime is not much better for them as it is for the rest of us. And like us, Russia and China have given up all hope of taming it.
It is foreseeable then that Russia and China will again watch as we spend our blood and treasure to knock out another troublesome regime in the world.
A more pressing question is whether we have any stomach left for another war. Assad and the Iranian regime are betting that we don’t.
But then so did Saddam and Gaddafi.

Sep 04, 2012 6:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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