June 21, 2012
June 21, 2012
The United States and Britain are willing to offer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “safe passage and even clemency” in a bid to convene a U.N. conference in Geneva to discuss the political transition in Syria reported The Guardian on Thursday.
The British newspaper reported that the initiative follows Russian President Vladimir Putin showing encouraging signs to both British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama at the G20 summit in Los Cabos.
A senior British official was quoted by the Guardian as saying: “Those of us who had bilaterals thought there was just enough out of those meetings to make it worth pursuing the objective of negotiating a transitional process in Syria.”
They may consider offering him an opportunity to attend the conference.
However, a senior British official said that Cameron had not made a final decision on this matter.
On Tuesday Cameron spoke of the dangers of Syria slipping into a civil war.
Violence has killed more than 15,000 people in Syria since a revolt erupted last year against -Assad, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday.
At least 10,480 civilians, 3,715 soldiers and 830 defectors have been killed in the crackdown and in clashes since March 2011, said the Britain-based group, which counts those who have taken up arms against the regime as civilians.
Russia has been the staunchest ally of Assad and resisted any attempts by the United Nations to enforce strict action against the Assad regime.
However, talks in Mexico indicate a willingness on Putin’s part to discuss Syria’s future sans Assad.
The Guardian reports that U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton will try convince U.N. envoy Kofi Annan to host a conference in Geneva “using the transition on Yemen as the model.”
Many analysts have pressed for Syria to follow the Yemen model which saw Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down from power in exchange for immunity.
The conference’s agenda would be to create a broad based government in Syria which would supervise the holding of elections in 18 months.
The proposed conference would see U.N. member states, representatives of the Syrian regime and opposition as well as influential key figures, including Russia.
The Guardian reports that Russia wants to see Iran attend the event which has been proposed to take place at the end of the month.