Mediator proposes fresh Syria talks

International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi called today for talks between the Syrian opposition and government after a meeting at Arab League headquarters in Cairo. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters.

International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi called today for talks between the Syrian opposition and government after a meeting at Arab League headquarters in Cairo. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters.

Sun, Feb 17, 2013, 00:00

International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi called today for talks between the Syrian opposition and an "acceptable delegation" from the Damascus government on a political solution to the country's 23-month-old civil war.

After a meeting at Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Mr Brahimi said negotiations could begin on United Nations premises. He gave no specific location.

Opposition Syrian National Coalition leader Moaz Alkhatib offered last week to hold talks with president Bashar al-Assad's ceremonial deputy, Farouq al-Shara, on a political transition in which Dr Assad would be given safe passage to go into exile.

Mr Alkhatib's initiative, widened by the SNC leadership to an offer to talk to any Syrian representative not directly involved in repression, "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", Mr Brahimi said.

"We believe that if a dialogue begins at the offices of the United Nations, 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."

It was unclear whether he had received any indication of Syria's willingness to enter into talks with Mr Alkhatib and the SNC.

An estimated 70,000 people have been killed since an uprising against Assad began in March 2011 after the overthrow of veteran authoritarian rulers in Tunisia and Egypt.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said he will travel to Russia, one of Dr Assad's main foreign allies, on Tuesday for talks with representatives of four Arab states.

Syrian foreign minister Walid Moualem is also due to visit Moscow later this month.

Reuters

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.