Lakhdar Brahimi. Photo by Reuters
The U.N.-Arab League negotiator for Syria has called for
outside help to get the warring parties talking to each other,
without which he said the country's 21-month civil war would
Speaking in Egypt after visiting Moscow and Damascus in the
past week, Lakhdar Brahimi said the situation in Syria had
deteriorated sharply, but a solution was still possible under
the terms of a peace plan agreed in Geneva in June.
"The problem is that both sides aren't speaking to one
another," he said. "This is where help is needed from
Brahimi has struggled to bridge the mutual hostility between
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his foes, and efforts to
find a negotiated settlement to the conflict, which has
claimed at least 44,000 lives, have failed to make headway.
Addressing reporters at the Cairo headquarters of the Arab
League, Brahimi said the Syrian state would collapse without
a negotiated solution and turn into "hell".
The peace plan has stalled on demands by the opposition that
Assad be excluded from any transitional government, and
Brahimi now cuts an unpopular figure among the rebels, who
have been emboldened by their advances on the ground.
"I say that the solution must be this year: 2013, and, God
willing, before the second anniversary of this crisis," he
The Geneva agreement, which leaves Assad's fate unclear but
includes a ceasefire and steps towards elections, was
negotiated by Brahimi's predecessor Kofi Annan, who later
quit in frustration at divisions in the U.N. Security
"A solution is still possible but is getting more complicated
every day," said Brahimi. "We have a proposal, and I believe
this proposal is adopted by the international community."
A day after Egyptian leader Mohamed Mursi said Assad's office
had no place in Syria's future, Brahimi met Egyptian Foreign
Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, who dismissed the possibility of
a military resolution, state media reported.
"The situation in Syria is bad, very, very bad, and it is
getting worse, and the pace of deterioration is increasing,"
Brahimi told reporters.
"People are talking about Syria being split into a number of
small states ... This is not what will happen. What will
happen is Somalisation: warlords." Somalia has been without
effective central government since civil war broke out there