Last Updated: Fri Oct 12, 2012 18:37 pm (KSA) 15:37 pm (GMT)

Syrian conflict, Ankara-Damascus crisis top Saudi monarch’s talks with Brahimi

The talks held between Saudi King Abdullah and international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in the Red Sea city of Jeddah centered on how to stop violence in Syria. (SPA)
The talks held between Saudi King Abdullah and international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in the Red Sea city of Jeddah centered on how to stop violence in Syria. (SPA)

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz held talks Friday with international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on ways to end the bloodletting in Syria, the official SPA news agency reported, one day before the peace envoy heads to Turkey.

The talks held in the Red Sea city of Jeddah centered on “how to stop all the violence, bloodshed... and violations of human rights,” in Syria, the agency said.

The Syrian regime accuses Saudi Arabia, along with Turkey and Qatar, of arming the rebels fighting the forces of President Bashar al-Assad since the uprising against him erupted in March last year.

On Thursday, Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah urged Brahimi to work for “an immediate halt to the bloodshed of the Syrian people” also at a meeting in Jeddah, the SPA said.

Brahimi arrived Wednesday in Saudi Arabia on his second regional tour to find a solution to the conflict in Syria after Damascus rejected a U.N. call to implement a unilateral cease-fire.

The envoy first visited the Middle East in mid-September and travelled to Damascus where he met Assad -- but earned no promises of concessions from him.

In an interview with AFP on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Brahimi would soon return to Damascus to try again to meet with Assad.

Ban suggested Brahimi could go to the Syrian capital next week if his meetings in the region this week were productive.

Brahimi will, meanwhile, travel to Turkey on Saturday for discussions on the Syrian crisis, including latest tensions between Ankara and Damascus, a diplomatic source said.

Brahimi is expected to meet Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul “to discuss all aspects of the Syrian crisis,” the source told AFP.

It would be Brahimi’s second trip to Turkey. In September, the envoy visited a refugee camp in Hatay province near the Syrian border.

On Saturday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will also hold talks with Davutoglu on the Syrian crisis.

Tensions are running high between former allies Turkey and Syria after the deadly crackdown by President Assad on popular dissent in a conflict that has claimed more than 30,000 lives so far, according to monitoring groups.

On Wednesday, Turkish jets forced a Syrian plane travelling from Moscow to Damascus to land in Turkey on suspicions that it was carrying weapons to Syria.

Turkey’s parliament has approved military action against Damascus “if needed” after Syrian shells killed five civilians inside Turkey last week.

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