|Brahimi calls for Syria peace talks at UN||
In a joint press conference in Cairo with Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby, Brahimi said on Sunday that negotiations could begin on UN premises. He gave no specific location.
The initiative of opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib “has opened the door and challenged the Syrian government to live up to what it has been continuously saying, that it is ready for dialogue and a peaceful solution”, Brahimi said.
Khatib, the head of the so-called Syrian National Coalition, offered last week to hold talks with President Bashar al-Assad's ceremonial deputy, Farouq al-Sharaa, on a political transition in which Assad would be given safe passage to go into exile.
“We believe that if a dialogue begins at the offices of the UN, at least at the start, between the opposition and an acceptable delegation from the Syrian government, we think this will be a start to get out of the dark tunnel,” Brahimi said.
It was unclear whether he had received any indication of Syria's willingness to enter into talks with Khatib and his bloc.
Meanwhile, Elaraby said he will travel to Russia, one of Assad's main foreign allies, on Tuesday for talks with envoys of four Arab states. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem is also due to visit Moscow later this month.
Brahimi confirmed that Khatib would himself visit Moscow next month, adding that he had discussed that trip with Elaraby.
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 Syrian 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, and Saudi Arabia.
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|Last Updated on 17 February 2013 18:47|