Syria mediator Brahimi says not resigning, but thinks about it daily

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The joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, on Friday dismissed rumors that he was resigning from his post due to frustration with the Arab League.

“I haven’t resigned,” Brahimi told reporters. “Every day I wake up and think I should resign. One day perhaps I will resign.”

He also dismissed reports that he agreed to remain in the post for three more months.

U.N. diplomats said on Tuesday that Brahimi hoped to revamp his role as peace mediator in the two-year-old Syrian conflict as a United Nations envoy without any official link to the Arab League.

But U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made clear the following day that he wanted Brahimi to continue working as a joint representative of both the Arab League and United Nations. Brahimi meets with Ban and Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby in New York on Monday.

Brahimi briefed the Security Council on Friday on Syria and gave a grim assessment of the Syrian civil war, saying that Damascus is completely uncooperative in negotiations.

“With the Syrians, I got nowhere,” he told reporters after the closed-door briefing. Diplomats said he told them that virtually nothing had been accomplished in eight months.

Since last year, Brahimi has been promoting a peace plan that would call for a transitional government in which Syrian President Bashar Assad would step aside. Damascus has shown no appetite for discussing Assad’s resignation.

He also stressed that the Syrian opposition forces needed to be more unified, coordinated and disciplined, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the council briefing was private. The Syrian opposition factions now range from al-Qaeda-affiliated militias to pro-democratic reformers.

Brahimi chided the Security Council for its ongoing deadlock over the war. Western and Arab nations blame the conflict on Assad’s government. Russia insists on assigning equal blame to the Syrian rebel opposition, and has used it veto, along with China, to block draft council resolutions.

“On the Security Council, with the Americans and the Russians, we made some progress but it is too little,” Brahimi said.

“If they really believe that they are in charge of looking after peace and security, there is no time for them to lose to really take this question more seriously than they have until now,” he said.

Brahimi told the council that he is still pushing a plan that calls for a political process that would start with the establishment of a transitional governing body vested with full executive powers, and end with elections.

The proposed plan would also include a large peacekeeping force to ensure a cease fire is observed because the government and opposition do not trust each other.

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