Peace envoy Brahimi arrives in Damascus

AFP , Friday 19 Oct 2012

UN-Arab League peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi arrives for a joint news conference in Amman October 18, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)


UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived on Friday in Damascus as he bids to secure a ceasefire in Syria's 19-month conflict, an AFP journalist said.

Brahimi was received at Damascus airport by Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Muqdad, and was scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Saturday. Brahimi will also meet President Bashar al-Assad "very, very soon," spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told AFP on Thursday.

The veteran Algerian diplomat has called for a ceasefire during the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that begins October 26. He arrived in Syria following a regional tour to countries that play influential roles in the crisis -- Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.

On Thursday the envoy stressed that a temporary ceasefire in Syria could for the basis for a real truce in the war-torn country, where more than 34,000 people have been killed since March last year.

"If the ceasefire is implemented, we can build on it and make it a real truce as well as the start of a political process that would help the Syrians solve their problems and rebuild their country," Brahimi said in Amman.  But he also warned: "If the Syrian crisis continues, it will not remain inside Syria. It will affect the entire region."

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