DAMASCUS - Agence France-Presse
U.N.-Arab League peace mediator Lakhdar Brahimi. REUTERS Photo
Syrian media lashed out on Thursday at peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi accusing him of being a "pawn" of the West after he criticised a plan by President Bashar al-Assad to solve the 21-month conflict.
UN-Arab League envoy Brahimi "has taken off the mask of impartiality he has worn ever since he was appointed to take over from (his predecessor) Kofi Annan," the pro-government daily Al-Watan said.
"The UN envoy exposes himself" and is acting as "a pawn to implement the policies of some Western countries and regional states on Syria," it said.
"He revealed his true face, which sees the Syrian crisis in a one-sided manner, to suit his masters." On Wednesday Brahimi described a plan outlined last week by Assad for Syria as "perhaps even more sectarian, more one-sided" than previous such initiatives by the embattled regime, in an interview with the BBC.
"I told (Assad) to be certain that an initiative should be different from what has been done in the past and has not worked," Brahimi said.
"I'm afraid that what has come out is very much a repeat of previous initiatives that obviously did not work." In a rare speech on Sunday, the Syrian president spelled out a three-step plan to end the deadly conflict, calling for a dialogue to solve the country's crisis but only with groups deemed acceptable by the regime.
Assad's plan for a "political solution" in Syria was swiftly rejected by the opposition and snubbed by Western nations as being detached from reality and essentially empty.
Other newspapers accused foreign states of fuelling "terrorism" in Syria, and specifically the United States, France and Britain of conspiring against Syria, while using Brahimi to compensate for their plan's failure.
Brahimi, said ruling party mouthpiece Al-Baath, has shown "he listens to the voices of these countries more than he listens to the voice of the Syrian people." Official newspaper Al-Thawra also slammed Brahimi's comments, and accused Britain of a role in "coordinating US
operations in the coming phase... after France's failure to execute a universal campaign against Syria." The envoy's stinging comments came ahead of talks he was to have Friday in Geneva with US
officials on how to end the bloody conflict and Syria and as two-day meeting of academics and the opposition to prepare for a future without Assad got underway Wednesday in Britain.