Peace Envoy Arrives in Syria for Talks

Posted September 13th, 2012 at 6:40 am (UTC-5)
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The new United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria is in Damascus for his first official visit to try to revive efforts to halt the country's persistent violence.

A spokesman for Lakhdar Brahimi said the envoy arrived Thursday for meetings with government officials, members of the opposition and civil society.

The statement did not specifically mention Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said earlier this week that Brahimi would meet with Mr. Assad “soon.”

On Wednesday, Brahimi was in Cairo for talks with Arab League officials about the situation in Syria, where 18 months of fighting between government forces and rebels opposed to Mr. Assad has left about 20,000 people dead.

Syrian activists say the killing continued Thursday with deadly shelling by Syrian forces in the northern city of Aleppo.

Brahimi replaced former envoy Kofi Annan, who failed to establish a cease-fire in Syria and open talks on a transitional government.