No cease-fire in Syria, UN envoy Brahimi admits
UN Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi smiles as he addresses the media after the UN announced the Conference Geneva 2 following a meeting with the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and the Russian deputy foreign ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov, at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, November 25, 2013. AP photoU.N. Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has admitted that there will be no cease-fire in Syria as sides wait to attend the long-awaited Geneva peace conference.
Brahimi said both sides of Syria’s civil war now agreed that there was no military solution to the conflict.
“Some time ago, both sides were absolutely certain that they were winning,” Brahimi told CNN. “Now, “individuals on each side tell me that there is no military solution.”
An international peace conference aimed at the civil war will be held on Jan. 22, the first face-to-face talks between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels seeking to overthrow him, the United Nations announced this week.
Brahimi cited the document in the first peace conference in 2012 which called for “an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms.” He admitted that “things have changed” since then.
“There will be no cease-fire,” he was quoted as saying. “So we are now calling on the parties who are coming to Geneva to see if they can take any confidence-building measures.” Among those steps, he said, would be “diminishing” the level of violence, releasing prisoners, and facilitating the arrival of humanitarian aid.
Brahimi’s words came as Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif said Nov. 27 they would press for a cease-fire ahead of the conference.
SNC to attend conference
Meanwhile, the leader of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) said his group would attend the peace talks. In an interview with Reuters and the Associated Press, Ahmed Jarba also said regional power Iran should only be allowed to attend if it stopped taking part in the bloodshed in Syria and withdrew its forces and proxies.
“We are now ready to go to Geneva,” Jarba said on a visit to Cairo, adding that the opposition viewed the Geneva talks as a step to a leadership transition and a “genuine democratic transformation in Syria.”