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UN envoy for Syria calls for action


UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua): The UN envoy for Syria on Tuesday urged the Security Council to take action to end the ongoing Syria crisis by implementing the Geneva Communique of the Action Group for Syria.

"I am now calling on the Security Council to take action because the Geneva declaration that contains indeed a lot of elements that would provide for a reasonable solution to the conflict cannot be implemented as it is," Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, told reporters at the UN headquarters following a closed-door session with the Council on his latest efforts to mediate the Syria crisis.

The Geneva Communique, agreed to by the Action Group on Syria comprising world powers, envisages a Syrian-led transition, including forming a transitional government in Syria composed of representatives of the government and the opposition.

The communique, however, leaves the future of the president vague because Russia and the United States didn't agree on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's role in the transitional period. The United States said Assad should leave while Russia, Syria's main ally, said foreign powers shouldn't impose rules on the transition.

Brahimi called on the Security Council to reaffirm "the attachment and support for Syria's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, also for the rights of every citizen in Syria, their human rights and dignity, irrelevant of gender, religion or any other element."

"Syria is being destroyed bit by bit," he told the reporters, "the region is being pushed into a situation that is extremely bad and extremely important for the entire world. That is why the Security Council simply cannot continue to say we are in disagreement, therefore let's wait for better times. I think they have got to grapple with this problem now."

The envoy also responded to rumors that he is resigning from his post.

"I'm not a quitter. The United Nations has no choice but to remain engaged with this problem, whether I'm there or not. The moment I feel that I am totally useless, I will not stay one minute more," he said.

Brahimi, the former Algerian foreign minister, replaced former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in September 2012 to mediate the crisis in Syria on behalf of the United Nations and the Arab League.

His briefing came on the eve of a humanitarian pledging conference for Syria that will be chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday in Kuwait.

The conference seeks to raise 1.5 billion U.S. dollars to assist civilians affected by the ongoing conflict over the next six months, including those inside the country as well as those taking refuge beyond its borders.

More than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since unrest broke out in Syria in early 2011. Recent months have witnessed an escalation of the conflict, which has also left more than 4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

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