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UN envoy says Assad could contribute to construction of new Syria

October 29, 2013, 7:16 UTC+3
Brahimi said that Syria might become a failed state like Somalia if a settlement could not be reached
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BEIRUT, October 29 (Itar-Tass) - Bashar al-Assad could contribute to construction of a new Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, a special envoy of the UN and the Arab League said in an interview published by Jeune Afrique Internet portal.

“Many of those around /Assad/ believe his candidacy /for a new presidential term starting in 2014 - Itar-Tass/ is a fact,” Al Arabiya channel quoted him. “He considers this an absolute right [...] He thinks above all of completing his mandate,” Brakhimi, a veteran of regional diplomacy, said.

“What history teaches us is that after a crisis like this there is no going back,” he said. “President Assad could therefore usefully contribute to the transition from the Syria of before, that of his father /President Hafez al-Assad who ruled Syria from 1971 through to 2000/ and himself, to what I call the new Republic of Syria.”

Brahimi indicated that the U.S.-Russian accord to dismantle Syria’s chemical arsenal had transformed Assad from a “pariah” into a “partner” and had convinced his supporters even more of his ability to prevail.

He voiced the hope that he would eventually convince the irreconcilable armed opposition to form a solid delegation to attend a peace settlement conference in Geneva.

“This conference is the beginning of a process,” Brahimi said. “We hope that the opposition will manage to agree on a credible and representative delegation.”

“We should not delude ourselves: the entire world will not be present,” he said. “But as the process continues, it should include as much of the world as possible.”

Brahimi said that the thing he really feared was that Syria might become a failed state like Somalia if a settlement could not be reached, and Somalia had not a properly functioning government for two decades.

“The real threat in Syria is not the partition of the country,” Brahimi said. “The real danger is a sort of ‘Somatization’,” but even more deep and lasting than what we have seen in Somalia.”

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