UNITED NATIONS – Syrias civil war is worsening and there is no prospect of a quick end to the violence, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said Monday in a gloomy assessment to the U.N. Security Council.
The new envoy leavened his message, however, saying he was crafting a new plan that he hoped could break the impasse but refused to give details or say when it would be ready.
Despite President Bashar Assads refusal to end his familys 40-year grip on power, some tentative hope of a solution remained, Brahimi said in his first briefing to the council since he took over from Kofi Annan on Sept. 1 as the U.N.-Arab League special representative for Syria
I think there is no disagreement anywhere that the situation in Syria is extremely bad and getting worse, that it is a threat to the region and a threat to peace and security in the world, Brahimi told reporters after the closed-door talks.
Brahimi had just returned from Syria and refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey. His gloomy report of a looming food crisis, battle-damaged schools and shuttered factories, contradicted his insistence that he saw grounds for optimism, including some signs that the divided Syrian opposition may be moving toward unity.
That is key for any political negotiations Brahimi would oversee.
I refuse to believe that reasonable people do not see that you cannot go backward, that you cannot go back to the Syria of the past. I told everybody in Damascus and everywhere that reform is not enough anymore, what is needed is change, said Brahimi, who has met with Assad and other regime officials in Damascus.
Paradoxically, now that I have found out a little more about what is happening in the country and the region, I think that we will find an opening in the not too distant future, Brahimi said.
Brahimi said he wanted to hold further discussions before disclosing precisely what action he plans to propose. I do not have a full plan for the moment, but I do have a few ideas, he said.
According to a diplomat inside the councils private briefing, who demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly to reveal details, Brahimi was also reluctant to discuss the proposals with the Security Council. He kept his cards very close to his chest, he said.
In the private talks, Brahimi urged Security Council members to overcome the diplomatic deadlock that has paralyzed their ability to help end the crisis.
The Security Council is the only U.N. body that can impose global sanctions and authorize military action. Russia, Syrias key protector, and China have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions aimed at pressuring Assad to halt the violence and open talks with his opponents on a transition of power.
If I do not represent the entire council, I am nothing. I need to be seen to represent a united council and a united League of Arab States, Brahimi told reporters.
Brahimi told the council that he believed Assads goal was to return the country to the old Syria, in which he and his father had ruled as dictators for four decades, the diplomat said.