New UN Envoy to Syria Plays Down Talks with Bashar Al-Assad
(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Miracles aren't expected to come out of United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus later this week.
Brahimi replaced Kofi Annan, who expressed frustration with the refusal of the Syrian government and rebels to negotiate a settlement to the nearly 19-month-long conflict that has cost tens of thousands of lives.
If anything, the fighting has intensified and the daily death toll has grown over the past few months.
Brahimi has already dampened expectations about what will come out of his talks with al-Assad, who refuses to step down from office as a way to bring about democratic reform, which is the goal of opposition forces.
According to Brahimi, his appeals to al-Assad to try and reach a peaceful end to the crisis will come at the behest of the Syrian people. He says they will be his only "master" while conferring with the Syrian leader.
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