|Brahimi says U.S. and Russia back political solution to Syrian crisis||
U.S. and Russian officials have given their commitment to a political solution for the Syrian crisis, a United Nations envoy said on Sunday.
UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi met with the U.S. and Russian deputy foreign ministers in Geneva for the second session of tripartite talks in less than a week, apparently in response to rising violence that now threatens to engulf Damascus, Reuters reported.
“All three parties reaffirmed their common assessment that the situation in Syria was bad and getting worse,” a statement from Brahimi said.
“They stressed that a political process to end the crisis in Syria was necessary and still possible,” it added.
On Saturday, Moscow dismissed speculation it was preparing for President Bashar al-Assad's exit.
“We are not holding any talks on the fate of Assad,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency in Moscow. “All attempts to portray things differently are unscrupulous, even for diplomats of those countries which are known to try to distort the facts in their favor.”
Lavrov met last week with Brahimi and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Dublin. Afterward, Clinton said the United States and Russia were committed to trying again to get both sides in the Syrian conflict to talk about a political transition. Clinton stressed that the U.S. would continue to insist that Assad's departure be a key part of that transition.
Russia's foreign minister said Sunday that after he agreed to a U.S. proposal to have his and Clinton's deputies “brainstorm” on Syria, the Americans began to suggest that Russia was softening its position.
“No such thing,” Lavrov said. “We have not changed our position.”
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest, and deadly violence while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.
Western states have been calling for Assad to step down. However, Russia and China are strongly opposed to the Western drive to oust Assad.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals, mostly from Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.
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