Syria envoy: Syria not cooperating

AP News
Posted: Apr 19, 2013 2:39 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria on Friday gave the Security Council a grim assessment of the Syrian civil war, saying that Damascus is completely uncooperative in negotiations.

"With the Syrians, I got nowhere," Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters after the closed-door briefing. Diplomats said he told them that virtually nothing had been accomplished in eight months.

Since last year, Brahimi has been promoting a peace plan that would call for a transitional government in which Syrian President Bashar Assad would step aside. Damascus has shown no appetite for discussing Assad's resignation.

He also stressed that the Syrian opposition forces needed to be more unified, coordinated and disciplined, diplomats said, speaking on concition of anonymity because the council briefing was private. The Syrian opposition factions now range from al-Qaida-affiliated militias to pro-democratic reformers.

Brahimi chided the Security Council for its ongoing deadlock over the war. Western and Arab nations blame the conflict on Assad's government. Russia insists on assigning equal blame to the Syrian rebel opposition, and has used it veto, along with China, to block draft council resolutions.

"On the Security Council, with the Americans and the Russians, we made some progress but it is too little," Brahimi said.

"If they really believe that they are in charge of looking after peace and security, there is no time for them to lose to really take this question more seriously than they have until now," he said.

Brahimi told the council that he is still pushing a plan that calls for a political process that would start with the establishment of a transitional governing body vested with full executive powers, and end with elections.

The proposed plan would also include a large peacekeeping force to ensure a cease fire is observed because the government and opposition do not trust each other.

Brahimi denied rumors he was resigning, capping a week of widespread reports in the Arab world that he was quitting in frustration, or dumping his affiliation with the Arab League, which has officially recognized the Syrian opposition forces as the legitimate government.

Brahimi assumed the U.N.-Arab League envoy role last year after former U.N. chief Kofi Annan quit the post in frustration.

"I haven't resigned," Brahimi said. "Every day I wake up, I think I should resign. But I haven't so far. One day, perhaps, one day I will resign, and I assure you, you will find out."