By Benjamin Villanti
By Benjamin Villanti
Morocco World News
New York, Oct 30, 2012
Appearing before reporters Monday in Moscow, the Joint Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi acknowledged the failure of his latest efforts to obtain a cease-fire during the Eid Al-Adha holiday, the most recent hope of the international community to stem the violence in Syria.
“There was no pause and the people of Syria haven’t spent quiet days during the Eid,” stated Brahimi, while standing next to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following his talks with the Russian official.
Brahimi explained that he preferred to characterize his latest effort as having been an appeal for “a pause” in the fighting during the holiday and “not a truce or ceasefire,” which he has previously stressed might then provide an opportunity to build on for a more substantive halt in violence. “I am terribly sorry … that this appeal has not been heard at the level we hoped,” said Brahimi.
During his remarks to the press, Brahimi repeated his view that “Syria needs a real transition” and “not cosmetic reforms.”
The term ‘transition’ has come to mean from the view of UN officials and western countries that Assad should not remain part of a future Syrian government. Brahimi revealed little how this outcome should be achieved based on his conversations with the Russians, who have resisted any approach that prejudges the fate of the Syrian president, other than saying that he and Lavrov engaged “substantively.”
The UN and Arab League mediator, once again, rebuffed as inaccurate news reports from two weeks ago that he has been preparing to propose a UN peacekeeping operation. He characterized these as having cited contingency planning that the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations conducts in order for UN officials and the Security Council to have a variety of options depending on developments on the ground.
In his remarks, Brahimi noted ironically that among the few areas that the two sides are in agreement is that they both reject that they are in a civil war. According to Brahimi the government still claims it is fighting terrorists and the opposition says that it is fighting in self-defense.
“It is indeed a civil war,” said Brahimi. The Joint Special Representative cited a recent news story he had seen, in which a Syrian mother claimed that one of her sons is fighting in the regular Syrian army and her other son is a member of the Free Syrian Army. “If that is not a civil war, I don’t know what is,” said Brahimi.
Despite the failure of this latest diplomatic push, Brahimi stressed that he would not let it deter his efforts. “We shall continue to work as hard as we possibly can,” he stated.
According to news reports, Brahimi was scheduled to arrive in Beijing Tuesday for two days of talks with Chinese officials.