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October 23, 2013

Syria Peace Push Continues as Complications Linger

United Nations and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is pushing forward with a regional tour aimed at building support for a Syrian peace conference, amid lingering questions about who would take part and under what conditions.

He is meeting Wednesday with officials in Jordan to discuss the proposed conference for negotiating a political solution for Syria. Brahimi also plans to visit Qatar, Turkey, Iran and Syria before holding meetings in two weeks with the members of the U.N. Security Council in Geneva.

On Tuesday, officials from 11 nations known as the Friends of Syria met with members of the Syrian opposition in London to urge those opposed to President Bashar al-Assad to take part in the peace talks.

The opposition has so far resisted, and Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad Jarba said there can be no talks until there is a clear plan for Mr. Assad to leave.



''If some countries would feel the discomfort from the humanitarian situation, due to al-Assad's massacres and wish to wash their hands at the expense of dirtying our hands with a humiliating position, you will hear us say no five times rather than three. No negotiations, no reconciliation, no recognition, no retreat and no to international isolation. However, if the aim was to remove the criminal from power and the war criminals are tried, then we welcome Geneva 2. These are our true demands and this is where we stand, and to build on these principles, together we will rid Syria and the region of the spreading fire. These are requests not conditions. But Geneva 2 cannot be a success without these.''





U.S. and British officials again urged all sides to sit down and talk, with British Foreign Secretary William Hague adding Mr. Assad will eventually have to step down.



"We are as clear as he is that Assad has no role in a peaceful and democratic Syria."



President Assad said in an interview Monday he sees no reason why he should not run for reelection next year.

The fighting in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people and forced millions from their homes since March 2011.