| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Peace envoy calls for fresh talks on Syria

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Los Angeles Times
Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, 9:45 p.m.

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. NSA leaker Snowden wants to come home to U.S.
  2. North Korea frees NYU student
  3. Canadian, Japanese physicists win Nobel for neutrino work
  4. Dead families huddled, died in Guatemala mudslide
  5. Car bombs across Iraq kill 56
  6. NATO rebukes Russia on airspace abuse in Turkey
  7. 3 share Nobel medicine prize for tropical disease drugs
  8. U.S. military struggles to explain bombing of Afghan hospital
  9. France tells Russia to target Islamic State militants, not rebels in Syria
  10. Afghan charity hospital bombed; Defense Secretary Carter vows full investigation
  11. Russia’s military touts partial victory in Syria