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Middle East

Syria paper accuses peace envoy of encouraging 'terror'

U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi meets with Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, at his office in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

DAMASCUS: A pro-government Syria newspaper accused U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi Thursday of encouraging "terrorism" and plotting the "destruction and dismantling of the Middle East."

"Brahimi has not for a single day acted as an honest broker," said an editorial in Al-Watan. "He has consistently been a party and an employee in the plot to destroy and dismantle the Middle East."

The newspaper also said he "consistently refuses to comment on (the presence in Syria of) 'foreign fighters,' whom he appears to view as defenders of democracy and freedom of belief."

"His silence proves the role he has played and continues to play in encouraging terrorism, or at least in ignoring it," added the paper, which is close to President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The regime has consistently portrayed the country's revolt as a foreign-backed "terrorist" plot.

On Tuesday, Al-Watan reported that Brahimi intends to hold talks with US and Russian officials in Geneva in mid-April to prepare for a new round of peace talks in Switzerland.

So far, none of the parties has confirmed that.

A previous round, dubbed Geneva II, brought regime and opposition representatives to the negotiating table for talks in January but reaped no concrete results.

While the opposition insisted a peace process should focus on discussing the establishment of a "transitional governing body" to take over from Assad's regime, the government said the talks should give priority to countering "terrorism" in Syria.

 

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