Brahimi does not see Assad in Syrian future


The international peace envoy for Syria has said he does not see President Bashar al-Assad being part of a transitional government envisaged by a peace plan agreed by major powers last year. “Surely he would not be a member of that government,” Lakhdar Brahimi told Reuters news agency in an interview in Cairo on Wednesday, in some of his clearest language yet on the future he sees for al-Assad. He reiterated his view that the peace plan agreed in Geneva last year remained “the base for a solution in Syria”. “There is no military solution,” he said. “The solution shouldn’t wait until 2014. It should be in 2013,” he said. He described a speech delivered by Assad this week as “narrow” and “uncompromising”, adding that embattled president had “narrowed his initiative by excluding some parties” from his own proposed talks to end the Syrian conflict. “This wouldn’t be a national dialogue,” Brahimi said. Brahimi added that he had made a mistake in an earlier interview with the BBC global broadcaster by describing the Assad speech as “sectarian”. “It’s a slip of the tongue and I apologise,” he said.