No Syria Peace Talks without Opposition: Brahimi
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said Friday that a proposed Geneva peace conference to end the war in Syria could not be held without the participation of the opposition.
"If the opposition does not participate there will be no Geneva conference," Brahimi said at a news conference in Damascus before returning to Beirut as part of a regional tour to try to garner support for the US and Russian backed peace initiative, TheVoice of Russia reported.
The UN Joint Special Representative for Syria, however, said he believes progress was certainly being made on preparations for an international peace conference in Switzerland - widely referred to as Geneva 2.
But he said it was not certain if it was enough for the conference to take place, as planned, on 23 November. He said he hoped to announce a date soon.
Speaking in Damascus, at the end of his first visit to the capital since December, he said "people are realizing more and more there is no military solution and don't see any way of getting out of this horrible situation except through Geneva."
The planned peace talks, backed by Russia and the US and due to take place later this month, have been repeatedly postponed amid wrangling among the Syrian opposition, and a dispute over which countries should participate.
Making the task harder for Brahimi has been the refusal of 19 powerful rebel groups in Syria to take part in the conference, saying that negotiating with the government would be an act of betrayal.
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Tuesday that Syria would attend the planned peace talks but it was up to Syrians to decide their political future and leadership.