Brahimi - Syria ceasefire a small step

2012-10-24 18:45

New York - UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told the UN Security Council Wednesday that a ceasefire in Syria would be a "small step" toward reaching a settlement but he was uncertain whether it would hold, according to diplomats who attended a closed-door meeting.

Brahimi also appealed for unanimous support for his ceasefire efforts, warning the 15-nation council that a new failure among its divided members would cause the 19-month old civil war to spread, the diplomats told AFP.

The former Algerian foreign minister spoke to the Security Council by video from Cairo hours after announcing that Syria has agreed to his plan for a ceasefire during a Muslim holiday this week.

President Bashar Assad's government has tempered optimism by saying it will announce its position by Thursday. The opposition Free Syrian Army has said it will halt hostilities if the government does, but is not optimistic.

Referring to his ceasefire proposal to Assad, Brahimi was quoted as telling the council "I hope a small step can lead to more."

Diplomats inside the meeting said the envoy stressed the lack of trust between the two sides and that he "cannot be certain that a truce will be effective."

Brahimi said he wanted the ceasefire to "help create political space for discussion and let humanitarian assistance flow in."

The envoy said it was essential to get aid to to the stricken Syrian cities of Aleppo, Homs and Idlib.

The Security Council was working on a statement in support of a ceasefire for the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday starting Friday. Diplomats said the statement could be released at the end of the meeting.

Russia, China support Assad

The council remains critically split, however, on international action over the war. Russia, Assad's last main ally, and China have blocked three council resolutions proposed by Western nations which could have led to sanctions against Assad.

Brahimi told the council it was essential that he receive "unambiguous" support for his ceasefire efforts.

"Another failure would lead to the worsening of the conflict and extension to other countries," he told envoys.

Western envoys have all expressed support for a ceasefire initiative.

"We hope the Security Council can send out a strong signal and can rally behind Brahimi," said Germany's UN envoy, Peter Wittig.

Western ambassadors have raised some doubts though that the government will implement an end to the fighting that has raged since Brahimi's talks with Assad.

China's UN ambassador Li Baodong said it was "very important that all parties understand the importance of peace and security in the region. Even if there is a one per cent chance I think we should make a 100% effort."

Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin also gave strong backing to the ceasefire call though he acknowledged Brahimi faced a difficult task having to deal with "too many players and too many spoilers."

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-24 19:28

    Those powers who are stoking the conflict by arming, training and funding elements within the FSA, who at the same time will order them to abrogate ceasefire agreements, will have to accept a degree of responsibility for the bloodshed as well.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-25 04:25

      The power who is stoking the conflict by arming, training and funding the Syrian army, who at the same time will order them to abrogate ceasefire agreements, will have to accept responsibility for the bloodshed !!!

  • duncan.gill1 - 2012-10-24 22:03

    Maybe just maybe..we will see an end to this madness that seeks to inflame the entire region.If it does not hold,this will negatively change the stability of the middle East for a very long time and cause much wringing of Western hands at their own folly..they who play with fire..will get their fingers burned!!!

  • joseph.motloung.3 - 2012-10-25 01:45

    The cease fire will hardly hold because the terrorists will step up their campaign of terror once the government abides by the terms of the cease fire. The Gulf dictators and imperialists should stop funding the terrorists and press them to negotiate a political solution to the conflict

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-25 04:01

    . It just needs ONE step for everlasting peace in Syria, and the killings to stop within hours; The ouster of this assad!!!!!! ONE man, decides the future of ONE country!!! It cannot get any more INSANE!!!!

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