New Syria peace envoy Brahimi in first visit to Damascus
Amid the spiralling conflict in Syria, the UN and Arab League peace envoy has arrived for a three-day visit to the strife-torn country for al-Assad talks.
International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Syria on Thursday, his first trip to the country since taking over the post from Kofi Annan mid-August. One day after he met Syrian opposition officials in Cairo, Brahimi is scheduled to hold talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as other government officials.
Brahimi, a veteran diplomat, was accompanied by Mokhtar Lamani, who will remain in Damascus to assume his new functions as head of office for the Joint Special Representative for Syria in Damascus. Earlier, Brahimi highlighted to the envoys of the Cairo-based Arab League that he knew he faced “an extremely difficult task,” a UN spokeswoman said. According to SANA, the official Syrian news agency, Brahimi said that the conflict in Syria “is getting worse”.
Former international peace envoy Kofi Annan quit in August over UN Security Council divisions and the failure to implement his six-point internationally approved peace plan, meant to enforce a cease-fire and to put an end to the bloodshed in Syria. Differences between Moscow and Washington on the Syrian conflict were repeatedly ventilated.
Since mid-March 2011, Syria has been witnessing a bloody unrest that has claimed thousands of lives, including large numbers of army and security personnel across the country. The Syrian regime blames outlaws and armed terrorists for the unrest, while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the violence. The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside and accuses certain Western and regional countries.