Diplomatic attempts to end the Syrian conflict are “nearly impossible” and not enough is being done to end the fighting, the new U.N. and Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Monday.
“I know how difficult it is - how nearly impossible. I can’t say impossible - nearly impossible,” Brahimi, an Algerian diplomat, told the BBC. “And we are not doing much. That in itself is a terrible weight.”
Brahimi replaced Kofi Annan as the United Nations and Arab League joint special representative on Syria at the end of August. Annan stepped down after blaming “finger-pointing and name-calling” at the U.N. Security Council for hampering efforts to find a breakthrough in the conflict.
Around 20,000 people have been killed during a 17-month uprising against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
Brahimi said he was “scared of the weight of responsibility” on his shoulders and was aware that not enough is being done to end the violence through diplomacy.
“People are already saying ‘People are dying and what are you doing?’ And we are not doing much. That in itself is a terrible weight,” Brahimi said.
Brahimi said he felt like he was “standing in front of a brick wall”, looking for cracks that may yield a solution.
“I’m coming into this job with my eyes open, and (with) no illusions,” he said.
Brahimi is due to arrive in Syria soon, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdissi said on Sunday.
“We will listen to him and he will listen to us,” Makdissi told a pro-Damascus Lebanese television channel. “The issue is not one-sided.”
In previous interview with NBN channel –the mouthpiece of Lebanese pro-Damascus party, AMAL –Makdissi blamed the international community for the ongoing conflict.
“The issue is not personal, and has nothing to do with the envoy,” said Makdissi.
“We tried Mr. Kofi Annan. And all the reasons that led to his initiative’s unhappy ending were not Syrian. The main reason was a lack of international consensus.”
Echoing the regime’s persistent blaming of Western countries for the crisis, Makdissi went on to blame “powerful U.N. Security Council members (for) discouraging dialogue in Syria.”
He also failed to recognize the existence of any popular uprising demanding change, and instead told NBN: “We want change for the country and we want to bring it out of this crisis.”
More than 26,000 people have been killed in violence in Syria since the outbreak of an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March last year, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.