UN envoy to Syria warns of ‘extremely serious’ spillover

Brahimi condemns the flow of weapons into Syria conflict from feuding int'l powers, casts doubt on future of planned peace talks over conflict.

June 25, 2013 23:13
1 minute read.
Int'l peace envoy for Syria Brahimi with Assad.

Brahimi and Assad 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Sana Sana)

WASHINGTON – Speaking to reporters at the UN on Tuesday, UN and Arab League special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi condemned the flow of weapons into the conflict from feuding international powers and cast doubt on the future of a planned peace conference between the country’s besieged regime and the weakened rebels fighting to topple it.

“I doubt whether the conference will take place in July,” Brahimi said, calling the Syria spillover into Lebanon and the surrounding region “extremely, extremely serious.”

Brahimi noted the deaths of more than 50 people in the Lebanese city of Sidon on Monday as a troubling sign that the war’s reach continues to grow.

“The Americans and the Russians stated on May 7 that they have understood that there will be no military solution and that they want to work together to facilitate a political solution,” Brahimi said in French, translated into English by The Jerusalem Post. “No one expects that the meetings between the parties will be easy, but I believe that if they do get together, that if they do agree to talk, this will be a step forward.”

Brahimi expressed hope that the United States and Russia would “act to contain this situation that is getting out of hand, not only in Syria but also in the region.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly said that the flow of arms from foreign nations only exacerbates the conflict, which has claimed roughly 100,000 lives over more than two years.

But calls for those weapons shipments to stop have fallen on deaf ears. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled on Tuesday to Saudi Arabia to discuss the conflict, after the US announced plans to arm rebel forces with light weaponry and the Saudis continued to increase the size of their shipments of anti-tank and anti-aircraft arms to Sunni opposition groups.

The size, nature and recipients of those shipments were expected to be covered in Kerry’s private talks with Saudi officials.

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