UN peace envoy meets Russian, US officials on Syria

11th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was meeting with top US and Russian officials Friday on the Syria crisis although there was little hope of a breakthrough.

Brahimi, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and US Undersecretary of State William Burns were meeting at the UN headquarters in Geneva. They made no comment as they arrived for the closed-door talks.

The discussions are taking place a day after Syria accused Brahimi of "flagrant bias", casting doubt on whether he could stay on as international mediator.

Damascus lashed out at the veteran Algerian diplomat after he described proposals Assad made on Sunday for a "political solution" to the 22-month conflict as "one-sided".

Brahimi attacked Assad's plan to keep fighting rebel "terrorists" and ignore opposition groups tied to them, in comments to the BBC.

He also questioned the decades-long rule by Assad's family, saying that in Syria, where Assad took over from his long-ruling father in 2000, "what people are saying is that one family ruling for 40 years is a little bit too long."

Syria's pro-government Al-Watan newspaper denounced Brahimi as a "pawn" of the West, and Syria's foreign ministry accused him of "flagrant bias for those parties known to be conspiring against Syria and its people".

Before the spat, there had been some hope that Friday's talks in Geneva could produce a clearer idea of how to move towards a transitional government in Syria, where the UN estimates more than 60,000 people have died since the outbreak of the revolt against Assad's regime.

© 2013 AFP

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