Valdosta Daily Times

National, International News

January 12, 2013

Syria talks end in Geneva without solution

GENEVA — International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said Friday that Russia seems as determined as the United States to end Syria’s civil war, but that he doesn’t expect a political solution to emerge anytime soon.

Brahimi, who is the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, spent the day at the United Nations’ European headquarters meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

“We are all very, very deeply aware of the immense suffering of the Syrian people, which has gone for far too long. We all stressed the need for a speedy end to the bloodshed, to the destruction and all forms of violence in Syria. We stressed again that in our view, there was no military solution to this conflict,” Brahimi told reporters.

But he acknowledged that “if you are asking me whether a solution is around the corner, I am not sure that is the case. What I am certain of is that there is an absolute necessity for people to continue to work for such a peaceful solution, and that it is the wider international community, especially members of the Security Council, that can really create the opening that is necessary to start effectively solving the problem.”

Brahimi’s five hours of talks with Bogdanov and Burns on Friday ended without any apparent deal. It was Brahimi’s second meeting in as many months with Bogdanov and Burns, who each left without making any public comments. In December, Brahimi also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss Syria.

At the Security Council, the most powerful arm of the United Nations, Russia has joined China in blocking several resolutions aimed at pressuring Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Moscow says it is not propping up his regime. Recently, top Russian officials have signaled they are resigned to Assad eventually losing power.

Brahimi defended Moscow’s role.

“I am absolutely certain that the Russians are as preoccupied as I am, as preoccupied as the Americans are, by the bad situation that exists in Syria and its continuing deterioration, and I am absolutely certain that they would like to contribute to its solution,” he said.

Brahimi, who didn’t comment on China’s response to Syria’s civil war, said the foundation for a political solution continues to be the agreement reached among major powers in Geneva in June, which called for creation of a new governing body for Syria that would “exercise full executive powers” during an unspecified transition period.

“And we agreed that full executive powers means all the powers of state,” Brahimi said of Friday’s discussions. “I will continue to engage all Syrian parties as well as other stakeholders in the region and internationally.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in an interview with the Associated Press that he was pleased that Brahimi convened the meeting and “I’m also encouraged that they are trying to bridge the gap on their differences, particularly how this transitional executive body will operate.”

“I know that there was some common understanding that this transitional executive power means all the powers of state,” he said. “I certainly hope that they will continue to discuss this matter.”

“It was not the breakthrough — but it is progress,” Ban said.

He said he spoke to Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby after the meeting and said Brahimi will come to New York later this month for talks with U.N. officials and the Security Council.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters “it’s hard to imagine how you would have a transitional government with Assad still part of it.”

The conflict began in March 2011 with peaceful protests against Assad’s family dynasty, which has ruled the country for four decades, but the intense crackdown on the uprising and armed rebel opposition soon became a civil war.

“According to our progress today, we said that this transitional government that will be in charge during the transitional period only. It is not a government that will stay for a long time. It will direct the transitional period that will end with the holding of the elections that will be agreed upon.  During this transitional period, the transitional government has to enjoy complete powers and these complete powers are those of the whole state,” Brahimi said.

The U.N. says at least 60,000 people have been killed in the war and millions have fled their homes. So far, all international efforts to end the fighting have failed.  Syria has complained that Brahimi exhibited “flagrant bias” after he called for real, not cosmetic, change in Syria and said Assad was resisting the aspirations of his people.

Brahimi took the criticism in stride. “I saw the statement by the Syrian government.  They expressed their point of view, but at the same time they said that they are ready to continue cooperating with me,” he said.

He clarified his stance further.

“I said the Syrians are saying 40 years is enough — the Syrians,” he said. “I said the Syrian people are saying that 40 years is enough. And I never said that there will be no place for members of the government. I never said that.”

The U.N. refugee agency said Friday that it is concerned about the severe winter conditions faced by about 612,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, and there has been no letup in the flow of thousands of people a day across the borders.

“Many of those arriving have been barefoot, with their clothing soaked, and covered in mud and snow,” agency spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters in Geneva, referring to new refugee arrivals in Jordan.

1
Text Only
National, International News
  • Dollar Tree-Family Do_Rich copy.jpg Dollar Tree buys Family Dollar

    The fight for penny pinchers is intensifying.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Mideast Israe_Rich copy.jpg Gaza war rages despite Hamas, Israel truce pledges

    Israel and Hamas launched new attacks Sunday in the raging Gaza war, despite going back and forth over proposals for a temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting ahead of a major Muslim holiday.
    The failure to reach even a brief humanitarian lull in the fighting illustrated the difficulties in securing a more permanent truce as the sides remain far apart on their terms.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP81072904918 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP4507280123 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, July 28, 2014
    Today is Monday, July 28, the 209th day of 2014. There are 156 days left in the year. 
     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tentative deal reached on VA reform

    The chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees have reached a tentative agreement on a plan to fix a veterans’ health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

    July 27, 2014

  • United States-Libya_Rich.jpg US evacuates embassy in Libya amid clashes

    The United States shuttered its embassy in Libya on Saturday and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort as fighting intensified between rival militias. Secretary of State John Kerry said “free-wheeling militia violence” prompted the move.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP9607270692 copy.jpg Today in History for Sunday, July 27, 2014

    Today is Sunday, July 27, the 208th day of 2014. There are 157 days left in the year.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • No ticket for Shrek over loud musical, chief says

    A musical being performed in a New Hampshire park has drawn some noise complaints, but the deputy police chief says he’s “not giving Shrek a ticket.”

    July 26, 2014

  • Arizona Execution Dru_Rich copy.jpg Arizona’s McCain: Execution was torture

    U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ukraine Plane_Rich copy.jpg US: Russia firing into Ukraine

    Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.
    Russia accused Washington of lying and charged Ukraine with firing across the border on a Russian village. It also toughened its economic measures against Ukraine by banning dairy imports.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results