Syria Talks Should Go On Despite Failed Ceasefire

Negotiations on Syria should continue, UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said on Monday, even though a truce he had helped broker over the Eid al-Adha holiday had failed.

After a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, he expressed regret that the UN-brokered truce had collapsed but that would not weaken “our resolve” to continue negotiations.

He said the crisis in Syria was going from bad to worse.

“The situation is bad and getting worse,” Brahimi said, adding that there was no immediate plan to send UN peacekeepers to Syria.

The truce went into effect on Friday, but opposition activists say 150 people were killed that day and over 130 deaths were reported on Saturday as Syrian warplanes hammered Damascus on the fourth day of the Muslim holiday with each side blaming the other for breaking the ceasefire.

Lavrov said Moscow was disappointed by the fact that Brahimi’s ceasefire initiative “was not heeded.”

He said there was no point in laying the blame for that at anybody’s door.

“Our main task at this stage is to get all the Syrians who are fighting each other to stop shooting and sit down at the negotiating table,” Lavrov said.

“It is essential that all outside players use their influence with various Syrian groups, be it government or opposition forces, to send the same signals.”

It is important not to egg on some party or other to continue the violence but to persuade them to cease fire and move on with a political settlement, he added.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday he was deeply disappointed that the ceasefire had collapsed and urged government and opposition forces to stop the hostilities immediately.

“I am deeply disappointed that the parties failed to respect the call to suspend fighting,” Ban said. “This crisis cannot be solved with more weapons and bloodshed.”

“I repeat my call for the Security Council, the regional countries and the region to support Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi’s mission to help move forward on a political track,” he said.

The Syrian conflict has claimed up to 35,000 lives since March 2011, according to rights groups.

The West and some Arab countries are pushing for President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in Syria, saying that the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed.


Leave a comment