Envoy Brahimi in Cairo to discuss Syria

Dec. 30, 2012 at 8:08 AM
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CAIRO, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, arrived in Cairo Sunday after warning the Syrian conflict could bring regional chaos, officials said.

Brahimi warned if the civil war in Syria continues an estimated 100,000 people will be killed, Israel Radio said. The conflict has already claimed 45,000 lives since erupting in March 2011

After meeting with Nabil al-Araby, the Arab League secretary-general, Brahimi told reporters an estimated 2 million Syrians are homeless and considered refugees. He added than more than 100,000 Syrians, including women and children, are in urgent need of food and heating.

On Saturday, Brahimi met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the situation in Syria.

After meeting with Lavrov, Brahimi warned the only alternative to the situation is either "hell" or to continue with negotiations and find a diplomatic solution, media reports said. He warned failure to solve the situation would lead to Syria being overrun by violence like Somalia, The New York Times reported. "The problem could grow to such proportions that it could have a substantial effect on our future, we cannot ignore this," the Times quoted him as saying.

Lavrov said Russia "isn't in the business of regime change," and said Assad "has repeatedly said both publicly and privately, including during his meetings with Lakhdar Brahimi not long ago, that he has no plans to go anywhere, that he will stay in his post until the end ... there is no possibility of changing this position," The Washington Post reported.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, said his country has received "strong signals" that the crisis in Syria is coming to an end, the Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"We are receiving strong signals that the end is approaching in Syria. The brutal bloody process is finally coming to an end. Soon there will be a government that will satisfy the needs and desires of the Syrian people," the daily quoted him as saying.

A survey conducted by the Union of the Syrian Revolution Local Coordination Committees revealed that opposition forces in the country say they had destroyed 19 Syrian air force MiG fighter jets and 22 helicopters in 2012, and a total of 103 planes since the uprising began, al-Arabiya reported.

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