Sunday, December 17, 2017

Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi calls for renewed peace talks between Syrian rebels, Assad

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi made a new push Thursday to draw Syrian officials and rebels into negotiations, aiming to revive a plan for a transitional government and elections that faltered because of disagreements over the future of President Bashar Assad.

The effort by the Algerian diplomat came after weeks in which both sides in Syria have been focused more on fighting. Rebels appear to be making gains, seizing military bases and fighting for control of suburbs around the capital, Damascus.

In a boost for Brahimi, Russia's foreign minister said after meeting with a senior Syrian official that his country endorsed the peace plan originally crafted in summer, and that Syrians on both sides of the 21-month conflict needed to enter a dialogue.

Brahimi, who has been in Damascus for five days, plans to travel to Moscow soon for talks. He told reporters in the Syrian capital the plan could quickly end the war if implemented.

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