(DAMASCUS, Syria) — Special United Nations envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi met with President Bashar al-Assad and a dissident group over a 24-hour period to try and craft a resolution to the 21-month conflict that has cost an estimated 45,000 lives.
Judging by the outcome of the talks, Brahimi, who is also retained by the Arab League, still has much work ahead of him.
The diplomat first held discussions with al-Assad on Monday and was non-committal to reporters about any progress that was achieved, saying, “Assad expressed his views on the situation and I told him about my meetings with leaders in the region and outside.”
On Tuesday, Brahimi spoke with the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change in Damascus, which is allowed to exist without interference by the government.
A representative for the envoy said afterwards, “A political solution is the only solution, and this means the establishment of a new democratic regime instead of the current regime.”
Meanwhile, the French daily newspaper Le Figaro reported that Moscow and Damascus are proposing an initiative to end the conflict that would allow al-Assad to remain in power until 2014, something his opponents in Syria, as well as most throughout the international community, firmly reject.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Junko Ogura, Madison Park, Yoko Wakatsuki and Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire
Michael Pearson and Steve Almasy, CNN