News / Middle East

    UN Envoy: 'Everyone Ready to Assist' Syria Peace Talks

    FILE - U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi gestures during a stakeout following a meeting with top US and Russian officials on the Syrian conflict at the United Nations office in Geneva, January 11, 2013.
    FILE - U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi gestures during a stakeout following a meeting with top US and Russian officials on the Syrian conflict at the United Nations office in Geneva, January 11, 2013.
    VOA News
    The international envoy to Syria is holding out hope fresh peace talks can still take place in a matter of weeks.

    U.N.-Arab League Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi spoke Friday in Beirut, following three days of talks in Syria, and expressed optimism that disagreements between world powers will not get in the way.

    "We did not find any opposition to the idea of the conference in any country, and everyone is ready to assist. Surely every country has its opinion, problems, concerns about what may happen in this conference. But I think everyone is aware that this is a very dangerous crisis and it does not threaten only the Syrian people - who are suffering as you know - but also threatens all the region," said Brahimi.

    Rebels have balked at the proposed "Geneva 2" talks, demanding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad resign before they attend, but Brahimi said there would be no preconditions.

    "In fact my opinion does not matter. There is an agreement that attending Geneva will be with no preconditions of any of the parties, and the goal is applying the statement of June 30 of last year," he said.

    Syria's main rebel bloc, the National Coalition, meets next week to decide its position on the talks. Some Islamist rebels, who reject the bloc's leadership, warn they will view any participants as traitors.

    Speaking earlier Friday in Damascus, Brahimi stressed it is the U.N. position that Iran, a key Assad supporter, attend the conference.

    Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes were reported to have attacked a shipment of missiles at a Syrian military base near the port city of Latakia. Speaking anonymously Thursday, U.S. officials said the target of the Israeli airstrike was likely Russian missiles headed for the Islamic militant group Hezbollah.

    The Lebanon-based Shi'ite group has been fighting alongside the Syrian government in its civil war against mainly Sunni Muslim rebels. It also fights the Jewish state.

    Neither Israeli nor Syrian officials have confirmed the attack on the Syrian air base, which was hit late Wednesday or early Thursday. It is not clear if the strike succeeded in destroying the missiles.

    Israel has reportedly attacked Russian or Iranian missile shipments inside Syria at least two other times this year, though it has not confirmed these attacks publicly.

    Syria strongly protests the Israeli military intervention, but has so far failed to follow through on its threats of retaliation.

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    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    November 01, 2013 1:08 PM
    Despite his failings, Bashar al Assad remains more credible than all the leaders of the opposition. As the incumbent leader, his exclusion from the peace negotiations as demanded by the opposition is an untenable precondition not acceptable by any standard. That will be tantamount to accepting the opposition without fair hearing of the regime's position. Agreed Assad may have overstayed his welcome, especially due the fact his family has ruled for decades, that does not mean he must be sacked unceremoniously. Nobody will accept such a fiasco. But it is rather better to go forward without the opposition even though it seems they have set the agenda for a transition.

    The trouble in Syria is the popular opposition to continued domination of governance by the Assad family. The region, the people of Syria and the world at large appear to have accepted that agenda, with the exception of Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, which does not constitute a stalemate. The bloodshed in the country has reached a crescendo that no one wishes it should continue. The humanitarian crises is bugging the region and is creating additional troubles including an overflow of the crisis to Turkey, Lebanon and Israel. The suffering within the country is unspeakable, especially as it affects the minorities and Christians in the country. All that is needed now is to stop war and find a way forward, which can be with or without the opposition participating in a decision and organize election to bring in a new administration.

    The UN can forge ahead without the opposition or regime - which ever one is posing the obstacle, and bring the war to an end by deploying UN forces in the country. My opinion is that it is preposterous for the opposition to ask for total exclusion of Bashar al Assad from the negotiation to return peace to Syria. If the opposition will continue to pose such obstacle insisting on that precondition, let the UN rather exclude the Opposition to forge peace deal for the country to return to peace and stop the blood shed. It seems to favor the agenda of the Opposition mostly constituted of terrorist groups to systematically eliminate elements in the country they would have fought through other means using the cover of rejection of Assad's participation in the talks until they fulfill their mission.

    by: MarinesRus
    November 01, 2013 8:50 AM
    Israel knows it has no friends in the region.

    by: LtCol V. S. Mitchel from: USA
    November 01, 2013 12:24 AM
    I just hope that the "Anonymous" Arab is not some rag head we have picked up from some stinking mass grave in the Iraqi desert... saved the f*** from Saddam and brought the filth with us to this country. That would be a shame. Either way, I just thought to add my name to the US Marine roar - Semper Fi Little Country!!! Love and Respect - Marines

    by: Whistleblower from: D.C.
    October 31, 2013 5:15 PM
    ANYTHING the Syrians "have" that the Israelis want to take out, were provided and funded by the CIA. FACT. WAKE UP SHEEPLE!!!
    In Response

    by: Laura McPherson from: USA
    November 01, 2013 2:46 AM
    hey whistle-blower... try to blow on this... maybe the CIA had asked the Israelis to take out some sophisticated Russian equipment to facilitate an American strike should Basher renege on his commitment... never underestimate the US/Israel bond of brothers... irregardless of who stinks the WH...
    In Response

    by: Barabriko from: Jabel-jariim
    October 31, 2013 10:22 PM
    Israel never ever used chemical weapons against Arab women and children. But Bashar al Assad slaughtered his own people, including women, children and old people with weapons of mass destruction. Destroying stockpile of weapons from Syria by Israel is most welcome

    by: Anonymous
    October 31, 2013 5:08 PM
    Israel is always carrying out aggression against others. It is an evil state and this must be stopped. The notion that Israel will forever kill Arabs and destroy their infrastructure is unacceptable , barbaric and a crime against humanity. UN should list Israel as a terrorist state for such unprovoked attacks on a sovereign nation. The scheme is to lure Assad into a futile war now that he has consistently outsmarted the warmonger Israel leaders.

    by: Maj. Susillo V. from: Philippine Army
    October 31, 2013 4:48 PM
    truly a cut above... there is no one like you... Israel.

    we, The Special Forces Regiment - Airborne
    Salute you.

    by: USMC from: USA
    October 31, 2013 4:38 PM
    I trust only the Israelis to complete the removal of Bashar's WMD's and the emasculation of his toxic chemical facilities...
    Semper Fi, little country, Semper Fi

    RESPECT!!!

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