Peace envoy calls for fresh talks on Syria
By The Los Angeles Times
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013, 9:45 p.m.
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
The United Nations-backed peace envoy called Sunday for talks in a new bid to end Syria's bloodshed, but deep distrust between both sides in the conflict casts doubt on the likelihood of meaningful dialogue.
Negotiations between the Syrian opposition and an “acceptable delegation” from the government of President Bashar Assad “will be a beginning to exit the dark tunnel which Syria has entered,” said Lakhdar Brahimi, special peace envoy for the U.N. and the Arab League.
Speaking in Cairo, Brahimi said talks could commence at an unspecified U.N. site.
But there is no date set for negotiations and no clear idea of who would be deemed “acceptable” participants.
Moreover, the central issue — the fate of Assad's government — remains in dispute, and neither side seems inclined to budge.
The opposition insists any talks must result in the removal of Assad and his security leadership.
The government rejects any such “precondition,” but has itself seemed to rule out talks with armed opponents it dubs “terrorists,” and with exile leaders labeled “puppets” of the West.
To date, each side seems to view negotiations as an alternate route to victory, rather than as a compromise-laden path to peace and reconstruction in a nation devastated by almost two years of conflict.
“Both the opposition and the regime remain determined to defeat the enemy,” noted Peter Harling, Middle East project director with the International Crisis Group, a think tank that works on conflict resolution.
Still, the urgent push for peace talks — a goal now nominally supported by both warring parties and their respective external allies — highlights how the Syria debate has shifted.
- Aid group attacked by Taliban, leading to street battle in Kabul
- Slain British soldier’s family thought he was safe in U.K.
- Kerry: Tehran impedes election
- North Korean letter to China signals rapprochement
- ‘Joke’ prompts British jets to divert airliner carrying 300 from Pakistan
- 2 arrested after UK fighter jet scrambles to divert civilian plane
- Iranian soldiers fighting for Syria, State contends
- North Korea loses war of words as Bank of China halts funds
- Syria’s Assad says he’ll ‘face storm’
- Afghan women’s rights suffer setback
- Sacre bleu! French in uproar over plan for courses in English
You must be signed in to add comments
To comment, click the Sign in or sign up at the very top of this page.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.