UN Peace Envoy to Meet With Assad

Posted September 14th, 2012 at 8:35 am (UTC-5)
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The new U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, plans to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus Friday as he continues his first official visit to the war torn country.

Brahimi says the crisis is getting worse and described efforts to help arrange a cease-fire and start talks on a transitional government “nearly impossible.”

Brahimi, who met with Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed Mualem on Thursday, also plans to hold talks with members of the Syrian opposition who are fighting to overthrow Mr. Assad.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is warning Mr. Assad's regime is coming to “its inevitable end.” Mr. Erdogan spoke Friday at an international conference in the Ukrainian city of Yalta. He warned the world also must make sure the conflict does not engulf the entire region.

The U.N. Security Council is deadlocked over Syria. Russia and China have vetoed efforts to impose tough new sanctions against the Assad government. The United States does not want any military involvement in Syria, and there has been almost no progress in uniting the fragmented opposition to form a viable alternative to Mr. Assad.

But British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in Baghdad Thursday that the Assad government is “doomed.” He said it should not be allowed to survive because of what he calls the many crimes committed against the Syrian people.

Also Thursday, Hollywood film star Angelina Jolie met with Turkish officials in Ankara, a day after meeting with Syrian refugees in eastern Turkey. Jolie is a special envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and has been traveling with a UNHCR delegation.

Eighteen months of fighting between government forces and rebels has killed about 20,000 people, mostly civilians. U.N. officials say the war has driven more than 1 million people from their homes.