Virtually on life-support, the mission of U.N. and Arab League envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has been energised by the Moscow-Washington accord, which has set in motion a flurry of diplomatic activity for finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
With Tuesday’s talks among Mr. Kerry, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offering a glimmer a hope, Mr. Brahimi, decided not to throw in the towel.
“The Secretary-General [Ban Ki-moon]…has asked the joint special representative [Mr. Brahimi] to stay on, and he has accepted to stay on,” said U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.
Diplomats familiar with the situation had earlier said Mr. Brahimi was all set to quit, owing to his frustration with the stalled diplomacy on finding a negotiated solution to the bloody two-year Syrian conflict, which has already cost at least 70,000 lives.
The U.N. had earlier welcomed the diplomatic progress achieved in Moscow, which can open the door for peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition for forming a transitional government.
“We were waiting for it for a long time, pushed very hard for a negotiated transition,” Mr. Eliasson observed.
The talks also coincided with a new round of regional diplomacy.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi travelled to Amman on Tuesday to meet Jordanian monarch, King Abdullah II, before heading for Damascus. Next week, Qatar’s Foreign Minister will travel to Iran.
The Moscow talks, which recommended an international conference on Syria, have set in motion a race for a suitable venue. Analysts say Geneva, where international negotiations last year had resulted in an agreement that identify specific steps to defuse the crisis, had emerged as a natural choice. However, Britain had jumped into the fray in the hope of hosting the much-anticipated conference in London. British Prime Minister David Cameron has dashed to Sochi for talks with President Putin on Friday.
He is expected to follow-up on his Russia visit with talks in the United States with President Barack Obama. The Telegraph is reporting that “the Prime Minister [Mr. Cameron] hopes to use meetings with the Russian and American presidents in coming days to clear the way for London to host a conference attended by all key players in the crisis”.