Only ‘political process’ can save Syria from ‘hell’: UN envoy

Saturday, December 29, 2012
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and U.N. envoy 
for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi talk during their meeting in Moscow
[Photo: SANA-Syrian State Official News Agency]
Moscow: The joint U.N.-Arab League peace envoy has met Russia's foreign minister in Moscow in a bid to end the longstanding bloodshed across Syria paving the way for resolution to the crisis.

Lakhdar Brahimi and Russia's Sergei Lavrov met Saturday in Moscow where the peace envoy talked about his recent round of discussions with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian rebels.

Brahimi said the choice in Syria is between "hell or the political process."  He said the world has to work "ceaselessly" for the political process.

But, it was not immediately clear if the two diplomats made any significant progress during their meeting in finding a solution to the 21-month Syrian conflict.

However, Brahimi warned the magnitude of the conflict in Syria could worsen if fighting engulfs Damascus, which could exacerbate a refugee crisis.

Brahimi this week called for an interim government in Syria until new elections can be held.

On Friday, Lavrov urged Syria's deputy foreign minister to engage in talks with the opposition in an attempt to end the conflict.

But an opposition leader responded by slamming Russia, since activists have shown no interest in talks with the Syrian government.

Lavrov stressed that deploying international observers in Syria should come after establishing security and stability and finding positive environment in it, saying "We call for the return of the international observers, as the withdrawal of the Arab and then the international observers from Syria was a big mistake."

“Preconditions should not be set for solving the crisis in Syria, and the international players should work on overcoming contradiction between the relevant parties in Syria," the Russian Minister was quoted saying by Syrian state news agency SANA.

Lavrov has consistently maintained that dialogue is necessary for progress and peace in Syria.
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