Syria meeting possible next week: Pakistan UN envoy

4th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi could meet with the United States and Russia next week to discuss ways to end the Syrian civil war, Pakistan's UN ambassador said Thursday.

Masood Khan told reporters he had spoken to Brahimi on Wednesday and that "there are new contacts, there is a new effort under way" to find a political resolution of the 21-month conflict that has claimed around 60,000 lives.

"We are hoping there will be a trilateral meeting sometime next week between Moscow, Washington and Mr Brahimi," said Khan, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council.

"Let us hope for some concrete result," he added.

The UN-Arab League envoy last met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in Geneva on December 9.

Without specifying a date, Khan added that Brahimi was also likely to come to New York to brief the Security Council.

On Sunday, Brahimi said he had crafted a ceasefire plan.

"I have discussed this plan with Russia and Syria... I think this proposal could be adopted by the international community," Brahimi said at the time, without revealing any details.

Asked about the proposal, Khan said Brahimi was "making honest political endeavors" and that he wanted the Syrian government to be one of the interlocutors.

"'Plan' is a big word but he wants a diplomatic breakthrough," Khan said.

Russia and China have so far vetoed three UN Security Council draft resolutions seeking to force President Bashar Al-Assad's hand with the threat of sanctions.

Asked about Brahimi's efforts, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said the envoy was "still keen ... to have another meeting with Russian and American officials and he hopes that would be sometime this month."

Nesirky added the meeting is again likely to include Brahimi, Bogdanov and Burns.

On Wednesday, a top UN official said that more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since an uprising against Assad's regime erupted in March 2011.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said an exhaustive analysis carried out by data specialists showed that 59,648 people had died through the end of November, a figure that has continued to rise since.

© 2013 AFP

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