Conflict & Justice

Lakhdar Brahimi: Leadership change in Syria is 'necessary' and 'urgent'


Diplomat and former foreign minister of Algeria Lakhdar Brahimi speaks during a joint press conference with former US president Jimmy Carter following a meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum on May 27, 2012.



Lakhdar Brahimi, the new UN envoy to Syria, said Saturday that the need for a change in leadership in Syria was both "urgent" and "necessary." 

“The Syrian government has to meet the people’s demand for change,” Brahimi told Al Arabiya's Talal Alhaj in an interview from New York.

He also argued that “the government’s responsibility to stop the violence is bigger” than the responsibilities of the country's rebel forces.

“The Syrian government realizes more than me the extent of the suffering endured by the Syrian people,” Brahimi said when he took over the position of United Nations envoy from Kofi Annan, who left the post because of the failure of his six-point peace plan, the Associated Press reported

However, some worry that Brahimi, a former seasoned Algerian diplomat, will run into many of the same difficulties as former UN Secretary General Annan. 

“Annan was the victim of an increasingly vicious campaign of public denunciations, not least by friends of the rebels who want to see the war go on until Assad falls,” said Richard Gowan, associate director of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, Agence France Presse reported. “It’s likely that the same critics will target Brahimi, making his work harder.”

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Ahmad Fawzis, spokesman for Brahimi, said the envoy plans to visit Damascus and Cairo to discuss the ongoing conflict with Syrian and Arab League officials, Press TV reported

"I have a tool box and there are several useful tools that are in that tool box that I can use when and if possible," Fawzis quoted Brahimi as saying, according to Press TV. 

Brahimi's statements come as Syria experienced its bloodiest month yet since the uprising against Assad. The conflict has left over 25,000 people dead and caused hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee to neighboring countries. 

Syria's Foreign Minister Wael al-Halki said Saturday that the Syrian government supports the UN mission, after a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at a meeting in Tehran, TASS news agency reported. Al-Halki said he asked Ki-moon request that those countries who have been backing the Syrian opposition change their stance. 

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