Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:43 AM
cqo_000 (313 posts)
Syria Denounces U.N. Envoy as ‘Biased’
Source: New York Times
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syria’s government appeared to distance itself from further engagement with the special peace envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League on Thursday, declaring him “flagrantly biased” even as his efforts aimed at a political transition to end the nearly two-year-old Syrian conflict were accelerating.
The Syrian criticism of Mr. Brahimi, a veteran Algerian statesman who spent days talking with Mr. Assad and other Syrian officials in Damascus last month, raised the possibility that he, like his predecessor, Kofi Annan, could be sidelined into irrelevance by the antagonists in the conflict, who have shown little or no interest in dialogue as the violence has worsened.
Mr. Brahimi told the BBC on Wednesday that Syrians want the Assad family to go after four decades in power. He told Reuters that he saw no place for Mr. Assad in any political transition.
Syria’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday in a statement that such remarks were a surprise and showed that Mr. Brahimi “is flagrantly biased for those who are conspiring against Syria and its people.”
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/world/middleeast/syria-rebels-raid-air-base-idlib.html?_r=0
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Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:16 AM
pampango (18,010 posts)
1. Background from NYT: U.N. Mediator on Syria Meets Russian and U.S. Diplomats in Geneva
Senior United States and Russian diplomats met on Friday with Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations and Arab League special envoy, to discuss possible mechanisms for ending the Syrian conflict but with little sign that an agreement was close.
Mr. Brahimi’s talks with United States Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov of Russia will consider ways to implement an agreement major powers reached in Geneva last June providing for the formation of a transitional government and ending almost two years of conflict in which the United Nations says 60,000 people have died.
Friday’s meeting, the second in Geneva in a month, came amid reports of fierce fighting round a military air base near Idlib and days after a defiant speech by Mr. Assad in which he condemned “foreign meddling” and made no concession to the demands of opposition groups described as terrorists or puppets of foreign powers.
Mr. Brahimi, talking to journalists after Mr. Assad’s speech, described it as a missed opportunity and said that “surely he would not be a member” of the transitional government created under the terms of the formula agreed in Geneva last year.
And from Juan Cole: