UNITED NATIONS - The UN-Arab League mediator in the Syria conflict, Lakhdar Brahimi, is attempting to persuade the Syrian government and rebels to accept a ceasefire and allow UN monitors into the country to oversee the truce, diplomatic sources told Reuters.

Brahimi, who took over from Kofi Annan after the former UN secretary-general resigned in frustration in August, has been traveling around the Middle East trying to persuade key regional powers to accept his plan, which is similar to a failed ceasefire Annan tried to implement, UN diplomats said on Tuesday.

Diplomatic sources familiar with Brahimi's proposals said on condition of anonymity that neither the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad nor the fractious opposition has shown the slightest interest in halting the 19-month-long conflict that has killed an estimated 30,000 people.

Nor is there is any sign that Saudi Arabia or Qatar, which Syria has accused along with Turkey of arming and financing the rebels, have warmed up to Brahimi's idea about how to end Syria's civil war.

"As long as the Security Council remains deadlocked because of Russia and China protecting Assad, it's hard to imagine Assad stopping, unless the rebels defeat his army, which isn't going to happen anytime soon," a Western diplomat said.

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