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Don’t expect U.S. to intervene in Middle East conflicts: envoy

File - Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, right, receives Frederick Hoff, center, deputy to U.S. special Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell and U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. (The Daily Star/Hassan Ibrahim, HO)

BEIRUT: A former U.S. State Department adviser on the Syrian war excluded Thursday the possibility of a military intervention spearheaded by Washington to resolve intractable conflicts in the Middle East. Frederick Hoff, who was the special adviser for transition in Syria, made the comments during the inaugural session of the fourth regional conference organized by the Center for Strategic Studies and Research in the Lebanese Army.

The conference is slated to discuss current circumstances across the Middle East, as well as possible developments, settlements and deals and the legitimacy of certain regimes.

The high-level speakers attending the conference include United Nations-Arab League Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, European Union Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean region Bernardino Leon and former Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Relations with African Countries Alexei Vasiliev.

In his speech, Hoff noted that U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration were focusing on issues that they could handle without the help of international partners.

He called for a resolution to the Syria crisis and for human rights in the embattled country be respected, adding that the U.S. could not achieve the two aims single-handedly.

He added that even if a political solution to the Syrian war was reached in the near future, rebuilding the country – large swathes of which have been destroyed in the battles – would take decades. The depth and scope of the atrocities experienced by Syrians would also take time to overcome, he said.

European Union Ambassador to Lebanon Angelina Eichhorst called for robust dialogue to resolve the Syrian war.

“We should not forget the victims and the refugees,” Eichhorst said, calling on the international community to act responsibly toward those displaced by the conflict.

“The relevant parties [in Syria] should come and sit together at the dialogue table. This also applies to other Middle East peace negotiations,” she said, alluding to the protracted Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 11, 2014, on page 4.

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Summary

A former U.S. State Department adviser on the Syrian war excluded Thursday the possibility of a military intervention spearheaded by Washington to resolve intractable conflicts in the Middle East.

The high-level speakers attending the conference include United Nations-Arab League Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, European Union Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean region Bernardino Leon and former Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Relations with African Countries Alexei Vasiliev.

European Union Ambassador to Lebanon Angelina Eichhorst called for robust dialogue to resolve the Syrian war.


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