International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi called on Sunday for talks between the Syrian opposition and an “acceptable delegation” from the Damascus government on a political solution to the country’s 23-month-old civil war.
After talks at Arab League headquarters, Brahimi said negotiations could begin on United Nations premises, Reuters reported. He gave no specific location.
The peace initiative announced last week by Moaz Al-Khatib, leader of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, “has opened the door, and the Syrian government has said in truth that it confirms what it has been continuously saying, that it is ready for dialogue and for a peaceful solution.
“We believe that if a dialogue begins at the offices of the United Nations, at least at the start, between the opposition and an acceptable delegation from the Syrian government, we think this will be a start to get out of the dark tunnel.”
It was unclear whether he had received any new confirmation of Syria's willingness to enter into talks with Al-Khatib and the SNC.
Meanwhile, U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay said the international community was hesitating to take action on Syria, weighing up whether any military intervention would be worth it.
Urging that some sort of international action be taken against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Pillay repeated her call for him to be investigated for “crimes against humanity and war crimes”.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Saturday also called for urgent action to bring about a power transfer in Syria that excludes President Assad.
“Given the enormous price paid already by the Syrian people... it is more urgent than ever to act to overcome differences in favor of a political transition,” Le Drian told a security forum in the United Arab Emirates.
He said the change should be “a transition in which president Assad would no longer keep his place.”
Le Drian spoke of a “tragedy” and accused Assad and his family “of clinging to power by multiplying the daily massacres and atrocities.”
Syrian opposition on Friday refused to accept President Assad in any talks on ending Syria’s conflict, as part of a “framework” it has drawn up for a political solution.
China and Russia have blocked three resolutions at the U.N. Security Council that would have threatened sanctions against the Assad regime over its brutal crackdown on democracy protests that erupted in March 2011.
Syrian PM calls for dialogue
Meanwhile on Sunday, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi called all parties for dialogue and said the Syrian government has offered all the guarantees needed to hold the dialogue inside Syria.
“I call everybody to join this political process in order to save Syria and we say to those who are listening that we have offered all the needed guarantees that aim to make this political process successful. Through this process we will reveal who is pretending to be national but they are related to a foreign agenda that prevents them from joining this process and communicating with us on the Syrian ground,” said Halqi during in a Parliament session that was held in Damascus and aired live on Syrian TV.
Halqi, who delivered his remarks to the parliament, called for a democratic Syria through poll boxes.
He said: “We call the great Syrian people to join the political process and merge all the valuable ideas that could reach a democratic Syria through the ballot box.”
Syrian Minister for National Reconciliation, Ali Haidar, said on Tuesday that he is willing to meet the Syrian opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib in order to start peace talks.
Alkhatib has launched an initiative for dialogue with the Syrian regime under two conditions; to facilitate the renewal of passports of Syrians living outside the country and the release of more than 100,000 prisoners who Khatib claims to be in the Syrian regime's prisons.