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Brahimi hopes Saudi will take part in Syria talks

(AFP)
Filed on October 30, 2013

UN envoy's spokeswoman says he appreciates the role Saudi can play in giving the peace process the push it needs.

UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi hopes rebel backer Saudi Arabia will take part in proposed peace talks to end the raging conflict, his spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Brahimi “appreciates the role the (Saudi) kingdom can play in giving the peace process the push it needs,” said Khawla Matar.

The statement came as Brahimi met with the ambassador of Saudi arch-rival Iran in Damascus.

The envoy had previously called on Iran, which backs Damascus, to take part in a US-Russian peace initiative for Syria dubbed Geneva II.

He “hopes (Saudi Arabia) will take part in the Geneva II conference”, which has tentatively been scheduled for November 23.

Arab media have reported tension between Saudi authorities and Brahimi over Geneva II, and that Riyadh had refused to welcome the envoy during his regional tour to garner support for the talks.

On Wednesday, Brahimi met Iranian Ambassador Mohammed Reza Sheibani, who told reporters his country “supports Brahimi’s efforts”.

Iran’s “vision and Brahimi’s efforts match each other”, Sheibani said.

“We are ready to attend Geneva II, and everyone knows that it is in the character of the Islamic Republic of Iran to want to help find a political solution for the Syrian crisis,” he added.

“The Iranian republic’s participation in this meeting will help reach a political solution as quickly as possible.”

Saudi Arabia supports several of Syria’s most powerful rebel groups, which issued a statement last week rejecting participation in any negotiations with President Bashar Al Assad.

Meeting in London on November 22, the Friends of Syria group of states that back the revolt said there could be no future role for Assad in the country.


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