U.S., Russia Must Forge Syria Peace Deal, UN Envoy Brahimi Says
Neither the Syrian government, nor the opposition, nor regional powers such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar that support the rebels, are ready for dialogue, Brahimi said in an interview with Russia’s Arabic-language state channel RT posted late yesterday on its website. Russia, the U.S. and the UN must assume this responsibility, he said.
“The best solution is for the Syrians to meet with each other as they don’t need anyone to solve their problem, but unfortunately this was not possible, and the countries of the region also unfortunately were not able to play this brotherly role,” Brahimi said. “Therefore it must start from the outer circle.”
Russia and the U.S. reached an agreement last week in Geneva to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, averting an American military strike in retaliation for a chemical attack allegedly by Syrian government forces on Aug. 21. A UN report yesterday confirmed the use of the nerve gas Sarin in Syria. It didn’t have the mandate to determine who was responsible.
The two former Cold War foes said they hoped to use the deal to revive a stalled peace process to end fighting that’s killed more than 100,000 people in the past 2 1/2 years.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov will meet this month with Brahimi during the UN General Assembly to set a date for a conference. While President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to take part, his opponents insist he step down as a condition for negotiations.
Lavrov said yesterday that the time had perhaps come to “force the Syrian opposition to take part in the conference,” known as Geneva 2, because of their refusal to do so.
The UN and other key players “will play the supporting role for the Syrian parties to draft an agenda and for them to discuss among themselves until they reach the desired solution,” Brahimi said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at firstname.lastname@example.org