Damascus says Syria envoy is "flagrantly biased"

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria criticized international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Thursday, a day after he said he did not see President Bashar al-Assad being part of a transitional government.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement Syria was very surprised by Brahimi’s comments which showed he was “flagrantly biased for those who are conspiring against Syria and its people”.

Brahimi said on Thursday that a peace plan agreed by world powers in Geneva last July to form an interim administration in Syria should be the base for a solution. But he added: “Surely (Assad) would not be a member of that government.”

He described a speech by Assad this week as uncompromising and flawed as it excluded some parties from his peace proposals.

The pro-Assad al-Watan newspaper said Brahimi’s comments revealed his true face as a “a tool for the implementation of the policy of some Western countries”.

It said the United Nations-Arab League envoy had taken off the “mask of impartiality he has worn ever since he was appointed to take over from Kofi Annan,” his predecessor who stepped down last August.

Assad’s speech offered no concessions and he said he would never talk to foes he branded terrorists and Western puppets. Russian and U.S. diplomats, who back opposing sides of the war, will meet Brahimi in Geneva on Friday.

Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Angus MacSwan