Brahimi: Only a political solution can end Syrian conflict
Published Wednesday, October 23, 2013
UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi insisted Wednesday that only a political solution will help end the "suffocating and dangerous" conflict in Syria, in talks with Jordan's foreign minister.
"The Syrian crisis is suffocating and dangerous. It threatens Syria and the entire region. It is the most dangerous to stability and security" Brahimi said during the meeting with Nasser Judeh, the foreign ministry said.
"There is almost consensus that there is no military solution to the crisis and that a political solution is the only way to end the nightmare in Syria."
Brahimi, in Jordan on a regional tour, said he seeks "greater cooperation with countries in the region to find political solution in Syria," the statement said.
His remarks came as prospects for a Syria peace conference in Geneva next month looked dim after key opposition leaders spurned efforts by Western and Arab powers to persuade them to attend.
A meeting in London between the opposition leaders and 11 key countries of the so-called Friends of Syria on Tuesday produced little more than an accord that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should play no future role in government.
But leaders of the National Coalition – the main opposition umbrella group – insisted they would not take part in a conference in late November if any government members were there.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the London meeting had urged the Coalition to "commit itself fully" to the so-called Geneva II talks.
He said the Friends of Syria agreed that they would put their "united and collective weight" behind efforts to form a transitional government and that "Assad would play no role in that future government of Syria."
US Secretary of State John Kerry took a similar position, saying Assad had "lost all legitimacy."
But he too urged the opposition to go to Geneva, saying Syria was at risk of "implosion" if the war continued and that the only alternative to a negotiated settlement was "continued if not increased killing."
The opposition is due to meet at the start of November to finalize its position on the Geneva talks, which would be a follow-up to a conference held there in June 2012.
But Coalition head Ahmad Jarba appeared to be in no mood to compromise.
"The only thing we are willing to negotiate is a transfer of all power and then the departure of the mass killer (Assad)," he said.
Notably absent from the London meeting was key Syria ally Russia, which has dismissed such gatherings in the past, saying they do not represent all the Syrian people.