The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi, today met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, as part of his ongoing efforts to bring all parties to the conflict to the negotiating table.
Mr. Brahimi, along with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has repeatedly stressed that the only way out of the Syrian crisis, which is now in its third year, is through dialogue and political compromise. To this end, Mr. Brahimi has been working for months to bring together all relevant stakeholders in a conference in Geneva that will launch a dialogue.
Yesterday, Mr. Brahimi met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, and he will continue meetings in Syria with representatives of different opposition groups, women’s groups and civil society in the coming days.
He is scheduled to speak to the press at the end of his visit on Friday. Mr. Brahimi will then travel to Beirut, Lebanon, where he will meet with that country’s senior officials.
UN Spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York today that the UN continues to work toward the so-called Geneva II conference and UN officials will be meeting next week in the Swiss city to continue preparations.
For her part, the Special Coordinator for the joint mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN, Sigrid Kaag, will travel to Moscow on Friday to meet with Russian officials on the progress of Syria’s chemical weapons destruction. She will also travel to New York to brief the Security Council on this matter next week.
More than 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since March 2011 when opposition protesters first sought the ouster of the Assad Government, and a further 6.5 million people have been displaced.