Peace envoy Brahimi arrives in Syria
DAMASCUS - Agence France-Presse
UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrives in a hotel in Damascus on September 13, 2012. AFP PhotoInternational peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Syria today on his first visit to the strife-torn country since his appointment two weeks ago.
Brahimi, who will meet President Bashar al-Assad during his visit, arrived at the Dama Rose hotel in Damascus, but did not speak to journalists.
"He will hold meetings with Syrian officials," said deputy foreign minister Faisal Muqdad. "We trust that Brahimi has a general understanding of the developments and of the way to solve problems despite the complexities.
"We are optimistic and we wish Brahimi success," he added.
Brahimi's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said: "During his visit to Syria, Mr Brahimi will hold talks with the government and with representatives of the Syrian opposition and civil society." Fawzi had previously announced the veteran diplomat would meet Assad during his three-day visit.
Brahimi was to meet Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Thursday at 6.30 pm (1530 GMT), a ministry official said.
He is also set on Friday to meet members of the Syria-based opposition, which is tolerated by the regime, an official source said.
Brahimi took over from former UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan in early September, after the failure of a six-point peace plan to put a stop to the bloodshed in Syria.
The diplomat arrived in Syria accompanied by Mokhtar Lamani, who will remain in Damascus to assume his new functions as head of office for the Joint Special Representative for Syria in Damascus, Fawzi said.
Brahimi said early this week that he knows he faces "an extremely difficult task," with no sign of any lull in the violence ravaging the war-torn country for nearly 18 months.