UN envoy to Syria to visit Russia this weekend

Associated Press
FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2012 file photo, Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria, answers media questions after consultations at United Nations headquarters. A government airstrike on a bakery in a rebel-held town in central Syria killed more than 60 people, activists said, casting a pall over a visit by Brahimi, the international envoy charged with negotiating an end to the country's civil war. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
.

View photo

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2012 file photo, Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria, answers media questions after consultations at United Nations headquarters. A government airstrike on a bakery in a rebel-held town in central Syria killed more than 60 people, activists said, casting a pall over a visit by Brahimi, the international envoy charged with negotiating an end to the country's civil war. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — The international envoy on Syria will visit Moscow this weekend for talks on the crisis, a senior Russian diplomat said Wednesday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will arrive in Moscow on one-day visit Saturday, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Brahimi met Monday in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar Assad, but didn't signal any progress toward a negotiated solution for the civil war. Brahimi told reporters after the talks that he and Assad exchanged views on the crisis and discussed possible steps forward, which he did not disclose.

Preceding Brahimi's trip, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and Assistant Foreign Minister Ahmad Arnous flew early Wednesday to Moscow, according to airport officials in Beirut. The Russian Foreign Ministry made no immediate comment about their mission.

Russia has used its veto right alongside China at the U.N. Security Council to protect its old ally from international sanctions over a civil war that has killed more than 40,000, but it has increasingly sought to distance itself from Assad.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week that Moscow would welcome any country's offer of a safe haven to Assad, but has no intention of giving him shelter if he steps down.

At the same time, Moscow has given no indication that it could end its firm opposition to international sanctions against Assad and calls for him to step down.

Lavrov reaffirmed Russia's call for the fulfillment of a peace plan brokered by Brahimi's predecessor, Kofi Annan, that was approved at an international conference in Geneva. On Russia's insistence, the plan left the door open for Assad being part of the transition process and has been rejected by the opposition.

View Comments (12)