Middle East

Pro-regime paper: Brahimi encouraging ‘terror’

File - A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on October 30, 2013, shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) meeting with UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus. (AFP PHOTO /SANA)

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 newspaper, which is close to President Bashar 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 U.S. 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, due to differences over what agenda items deserved priority.

While the opposition insisted the talks 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 04, 2014, on page 8.




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