The United Nations and Arab League special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi met on Sunday with the League’s Secretary General Nabil El-Araby. In his meeting Brahimi called for talks between the Syrian opposition and the Syrian government to bring an end to the two-year conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 60,000 people, according to UN estimates.
According to the state-run news agency MENA, Brahimi and El-Araby said the Syrian government and the opposition, as well as the regional and international community, must work together to make the peace initiative a success. El-Araby was also cited saying he would be heading to Moscow soon to participate in the Arab-Russian Forum. “The Syrian issue will be high on the agenda,” he added.
Brahimi said an “acceptable” delegation from the government should be formed to hold these discussions. After meeting El-Araby, Brahimi said negotiations could be held on UN property.
Brahimi showed support for the peace initiative offered last week by Moaz Al-Khatib, the current leader of the opposition. He said Al-Khatib has “opened the door, and the Syrian government has said in truth that it confirms what it has been continuously saying, that it is ready for dialogue and for a peaceful solution”.
Haitham, Al-Maleh, a prominent figure in the opposition, told the Daily News Egypt that while Brahimi attempted to find a political solution to the crisis, he did not believe any solution will be reached through politics. “There is no possibility we can make any negotiation with the [Syrian president Basher] Al-Assad group,” he said, adding a political solution required real and earnest intentions.
Regarding the international community, Al-Maleh said more pressure needs to be exerted on Al-Assad, his family and those closest to him to force a resignation. Only after Al-Assad and his associates are removed would it be possible to have peaceful negotiations with the regime, he added.
“They have committed and continue to commit crimes against humanity and war crimes,” Al-Maleh said.
He stressed that Al-Assad was a part of the problem and thus could not be a part of the solution. “It is impossible to let him escape punishment.”
“They are not a political regime, but an ideological regime and as such they only have one goal and that is to have Syria in their pocket,” he said, referring to the Iranian influence in Syria.
Al-Maleh continued saying Iran is attempting to export their revolution and as such is a major part of the persisting problem.
The Syrian Economic Task Force has been tracking the movements of Iranian oil tankers said to be shipping Syrian oil to circumnavigate sanctions. These oil shipments are said to be a major lifeline for the Syrian regime, helping it retain power.
As the crisis continues unabated, the Syrian opposition continues to meet with the Arab League to find a way to put pressure on the Syrian government to cease the violence against civilians.
The UN has also spoken against the violence on the ground, with the secretary general Ban Ki-Moon recently saying the international community needs to act swiftly.