independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Envoy warns Syria is on course for collapse

The international envoy seeking to end Syria's civil war warned today that the failure of the government and rebels to pursue a political solution could lead to the "full collapse of the Syrian state" and threaten world security.

Lakhdar Brahimi, who represents the United Nations and the Arab League, said that as many as 100,000 people could be killed in the next year as Syria moves toward "Somalisation" and rule by warlords.

Mr Brahimi has reported little progress in his mission to push forward a peace plan for Syria first presented in June at a conference in Geneva.

The proposal calls for an open-ended ceasefire and the formation of a transitional government to run the country until elections can be held.

The regime of President Bashar Assad and the rebel groups fighting his forces across the country have so far shown no interest in negotiations.

The rebels' political leadership has called Mr Assad's departure a pre-requisite for any political solution, and it is unlikely that the opposition's National Coalition could even stop rebels on the ground from continuing to fight.

Likewise, it is doubtful senior members of Assad's regime will voluntarily give up power.

The Syrian government has not commented officially on Mr Brahimi's plan, which he has pushed in the past week in meetings with Assad in Damascus, leading Russian officials in Moscow, and yesterday with the head of the Arab League in Egypt.

Irish Independent

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