Damascus, Syria (BBN)- The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, met with President Bashar al-Assad on Monday for further talks on the situation in the war-torn Middle Eastern country.
“The President expressed his view regarding the current situation and I briefed him on the meetings I had in several capitals with officials from different countries inside and outside the region,” Mr. Brahimi told reporters in the Syrian capital of Damascus following the meeting.
“I also told him about the steps that in my view need to be taken to help the Syrian people find a way out of this crisis,” he added.
Mr. Brahimi has been engaged in a series of meetings in the region and elsewhere as part of his efforts to bring about a negotiated, political solution to end to the fighting in Syria, where at least 20,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the uprising against President al-Assad began in March 2011. The conflict has spawned more than 500,000 refugees, while an estimated four million people inside the country need urgent humanitarian assistance.
In addition to meeting with regional leaders and government representatives, Mr. Brahimi has also met with officials such as Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, and the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, amongst others.
At the media encounter in Damascus, the Joint Special Representative also addressed claims of difficulty in arranging to meet with the Syrian President, a UN press statement said.
“I would like to seize this opportunity to comment on what was said a few days ago about the reluctance of President to receive me during my previous visits, and his refusal to see me this time, and that I asked the Russians to intervene with the President to convince him to meet with me, or otherwise I would resign – I would like to say that not one word of this is true,” Mr. Brahimi noted.
BBN/SSR/AD-25Dec12-10:35 am (BST)