The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, today arrived in Damascus, where he will hold talks with the Government, representatives of the opposition and members of civil society.
In a statement upon arrival in the capital city’s international airport, Mr. Brahimi said no one disagrees with the need to stop the bloodshed and restore harmony among the people in Syria.
“We came to Syria for consultation with the brotherly Syrians… There is a crisis and I think it is deteriorating,” he said.
Mr. Brahimi met this afternoon with the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Walid Al-Moualem, with whom he had a candid and comprehensive talk about the current situation in the country.
According to his spokesperson, Mr. Brahimi emphasized during the meeting that he would spare no effort to help find a solution to the crisis and that his primary concern was the welfare of the Syrian people.
While in Syria, Mr. Brahimi will also meet with the UN country team, his spokesperson said in a statement.
Mr. Brahimi is accompanied by Mokhtar Lamani, who will remain in the Syrian capital to assume his new functions as Head of the Office of the Joint Special Representative for Syria in Damascus.
More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began nearly 18 months ago. Amidst reports of an escalation in violence in recent weeks in many towns and villages, as well as the country's two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, UN agencies now estimate that some 2.5 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
On Monday, Mr. Brahimi had reiterated his commitment to the Syrian people during his visit to Cairo, Egypt, where he met with Arab League officials before heading to Syria. “I do know it is a very difficult task, but I believe it is not my right to refuse and to try my best to give as much help as possible to the Syrian people,” Mr. Brahimi said.
An Algerian national who has served the UN in various high-level roles over the past two decades, Mr. Brahimi has assumed the peace-facilitation role which had been carried out since February by a former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, with the aim of bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations in Syria, and promoting a peaceful solution to the conflict. Mr. Annan’s mandate ended on 31 August.