International Peace Envoy Brahimi in Damascus

Posted October 20th, 2012 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
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International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is in Damascus to meet with Syrian officials, including President Bashar al-Assad, for talks on securing a temporary cease-fire in the 19-month-old conflict between Syrian forces and rebel groups.

The U.N.-Arab League envoy is scheduled to meet Saturday with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

Brahimi is pushing for Syrian officials to support a cease-fire during the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that begins October 26. The secretaries-general of the U.N. and the Arab League issued a statement Friday calling for a cessation of violence during the religious period.

Brahimi told reporters Thursday after meeting Jordan's foreign minister that a respite in hostilities could build confidence and help bring about a longer truce in the conflict.

Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has also appealed to Syrian forces and rebel groups to observe a cease-fire.

A previous cease-fire in April collapsed after just a few days, with each side blaming the other. Then-mediator Kofi Annan later resigned from his post.