UN peace envoy, Russia seek way out of Syria crisis

AFP , Monday 29 Oct 2012

UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrives to Russia to hold talks with FM Sergei Lavrov on new ways of solving the Syrian crisis

The UN-Arab League representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (Photo: AP)

Russia on Monday was to host the UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to seek new ways of tackling the crisis in Syria after a truce failed to take hold.

Russia had thrown its support behind Brahimi's call for Bashar al-Assad's army and the rebels to lay down arms during the Eid al-Adha holiday.

However shelling and car bombings resumed hours after the ceasefire had been due to take effect on Friday, with each side blaming the other for breaking it.

Brahimi was due to hold talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow and the two were then to take questions from the press before 1000 GMT.

Russia has blamed the rebels for the failure to contain the violence, with deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov charging that "the opposition foiled the ceasefire," making clear its "intent to continue violence."

Moscow has repeatedly criticised Western powers for obstructing peace efforts in Syria and last week alleged that the United States was coordinating arms deliveries to the rebels, which the State Department has called "ludicrous".

Russia and China have repeatedly vetoed UN Security Council resolutions threatening action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow came under fire earlier this month for delivering radar systems to Damascus on a civilian plane, leading the US to declare its Syria policy "morally bankrupt".

President Vladimir Putin shot back with a declaration that Russia will trade weapons with whomever it wants, as long as deliveries do not defy UN sanctions.

Brahimi, who became the Syria envoy after his predecessor Kofi Annan quit when his five-point Syria peace plan fell through, is to go to the UN Security Council in November with new proposals to push for talks between Assad and the opposition.

He is also due to visit China.

He had hoped that the Eid truce might lead to a more permanent ceasefire and a political solution of the conflict that has already claimed 35,000 lives in Syria, according to rights groups.

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