Middle East

Brahimi says U.N. holds key to Syria peace

The UN Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi. (AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi)

BEIRUT: U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said in remarks published Thursday that he has presented six ideas to the United Nations Security Council as part of his efforts to bring a close to the crisis in Syria.

In comments to pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper, Brahimi also said Syria’s salvation runs through the Security Council and expressed hope that any bid by the top body to end the conflict in Syria would incorporate his proposals.

He said the six points were not based on a call for a cease-fire as a starting point “as this could not hold if it is the only proposal.”

“Undoubtedly, if there is any solution then the first step should be a cease-fire ... but this needs to be part of comprehensive package.”

Brahimi told the Security Council this week that the Geneva accord on Syria could not be saved in its current form and needed to be altered to work.

“I'm not calling on the Security Council to take action because the Geneva declaration that contains, indeed, a lot of elements that would provide for a reasonable solution to the conflict cannot be implemented as is,” Brahimi told the Security Council in published remarks.

In his comments to Al-Hayat, the veteran Algerian diplomat would not disclose details of the six elements he wants incorporated in to a peace plan.

“I don’t want to go into the details at the present moment ... the situation is now in the hands of the Security Council,” he told the newspaper.

But Al-Hayat said it has learned that the six points focus on the principle of Syria’s territorial integrity; the dignity of the Syrian people; the formation of a transitional committee with full executive powers; agreement on the principle of negotiations among the various Syrian sides; the holding of talks to agree on a time frame that leads to elections and that all Syrians are deemed equal before the law.Brahimi has blamed both Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Western-backed opposition forces for the crisis in the Arab state.

The U.N. envoy has also called on U.N. Security Council members to overcome their divisions.

The United States, France and Britain have repeatedly failed to pass Security Council resolutions and statements over the Syria crisis due to vetoes by China and Russia, the two council members that support the Assad government.

Brahimi has suggested that the top body revisit the Geneva Accord of June 2012, which was endorsed by the West and Russia to provide the basis for negations.

However, the initiative remains ambiguous about Assad’s role in any transitional government.

Brahimi, in his comments to the pan-Arab daily, said the ambiguity needed to end.

“What is required now is for the government that will be formed to exercise its full powers in all sense of the term and these need [to be defined] by the Security Council,” he said.

He said the formation of a government “is not a difficult matter” and could be “achieved [through participation] of both sides and through known, acceptable figures from both the government and the opposition.”

“I have said that the negotiating committee should be formed from a strong team that represents opposition sides and a strong civic and military team that represents the government. This is the first step,” he said.

“The government should be formed on this basis and it is the Syrians that should form their government,” he added.





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