The new U.N.-Arab League envoy on the Syria conflict, Lakhdar Brahimi, wants to visit Damascus in the next three weeks, his spokesman said Wednesday.
Brahimi will also have a handover meeting with outgoing mediator Kofi Annan in New York next week, spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters after Brahimi's first meeting with the UN Security Council, at which he appealed for support from the divided body.
Brahimi “intends to go to Syria. He has not finalized those plans yet, but it’s very possible that might happen before the next session of the General Assembly,” Fawzi said. The U.N. General Assembly debate starts at the U.N. headquarters on September 24.
Brahimi has been in New York for the past week for talks with UN leaders and senior diplomats from U.N. Security Council nations and other countries.
The envoy asked the divided Security Council for support but did not lay out his plans to try to end the 17-month old conflict in which activists say more than 25,000 people have been killed, diplomats said.
Brahimi “was in listening mode. He needed to hear from them, what their views were as he studies the brief,” said Fawzi.
“He is studying the brief very very carefully. He doesn't have a master plan yet. He will develop his plan as he goes along.”
Brahimi officially takes up his post on September 1. Talks with Kofi Annan and U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon are planned for next week in New York, and then Brahimi will go to Cairo “soon” for talks with Arab League officials, Fawzi said.
France’s U.N. envoy Gerard Araud told reporters that Brahimi had asked for support from the Security Council. “The problem is the council is still very divided,” he added.
Russia, Syria’s major international ally, and China have vetoed three proposed resolutions that could have led sanctions to be considered against Assad's government.