Syria hopeful of peace plan after mediator Lakhdar Brahimi's talks with Middle East states

Wednesday 17 October 2012 19.32
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Several Syrian cities, including Aleppo, have been destroyed in the conflict
Several Syrian cities, including Aleppo, have been destroyed in the conflict
Lakhdar Brahimi has called for a ceasefire to mark Eid al-Adha
Lakhdar Brahimi has called for a ceasefire to mark Eid al-Adha

Syria has said it hopes international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi's talks with Middle East states would help prospects for a "constructive initiative" to end its civil war.

However, it reiterated that any peace plan must be respected by both sides.

Mr Brahimi has called for a ceasefire to mark the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha later this month, after holding talks with leaders from several countries in the region, including allies and opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.

"Syria is awaiting the arrival of United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to hear about the results of his tour of the countries he visited, some of which have influence over the [rebel] armed groups," state news agency SANA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi as saying.

It said Mr Makdissi expressed the hope that Mr Brahimi would bring "something which leads to the success of any constructive initiative" to solve a conflict that began 19 months ago and has killed more than 30,000 people.

SANA said Mr Makdissi had previously demonstrated Syria’s commitment to Arab or UN initiatives but that they had been thwarted by "armed groups and the countries that influence them".

Mr Brahimi appealed on Sunday to leaders in Iran, Mr Assad's strongest regional ally, to support a truce during Eid al-Adha, which starts around 25 October.

He has also visited Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and is in Lebanon today.

Syria accuses Turkey, which has sheltered and supported armed rebels, as well as Sunni Gulf states Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who back the mainly Sunni uprising against the Alawite president, of fuelling the continued bloodshed.

An April ceasefire brokered by Mr Brahimi's predecessor, Kofi Annan, fell apart after a few days as both rebels and government forces resumed their military campaigns.

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