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UNITED NATIONS, May 10 (Itar-Tass) - The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, has agreed to “stay on” following the U.S.-Russian agreement to convene an international conference on Syria on the basis of the Geneva Communique, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said on Thursday, May 9.
Eliasson welcomed the Russian-American agreement as “good news”.
“This is good news, that the U.S. and Russia have come forward with this initiative,” he said, “And we are, of course, commending this initiative. We have been waiting for it for a long time, and have pushed very hard for a negotiated transition, a negotiated process, because we see very much the risk that there is a belief that there could be a military victory.”
He expressed doubt that “a military victory is possible, particularly within the near future” and warned that “the risks of an explosion of revenge could lead to an even worse situation” in Syria.
“The Secretary-General takes it very seriously and he has asked the Joint Special Representative to stay on and he has accepted to stay on, and we also have, of course, a strong team in the United Nations that works very intensely on this matter,” Eliasson said.
He stressed that “we now have, of course, challenges ahead of us, lots of work that has to be done.”
The Deputy Secretary-General expressed hope that “all partners will seize this opportunity and really contribute to a political settlement, and that is the challenge that we will now have to mobilise everybody to go for the political road rather than a military road.”
“I hope that we will now have momentum going in that direction. The Secretary-General is prepared to play the role that he is asked to do, and he sees his own responsibility and accepts that responsibility,” Eliasson said.
At their talks in Moscow on Tuesday, May 7, Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed to hold an international conference on the basis of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012, in order to try to overcome the crisis in Syria.
Lavrov and Kerry said that their countries would encourage both the Syrian government and opposition groups to look for a political solution.
More than 70,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed, and some 3 million displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011, the United Nations said.