Brahimi follows in footsteps of Annan: Mission doomed to fail
RIYADH - Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said Monday that Syria peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's mission had not brought a "glimmer of hope" in ending the bloodshed, and urged UN action to enforce a ceasefire.
"All contacts (with the warring sides and international actors) made by Brahimi have thus far not yielded a glimmer of hope to end this crisis," Arabi told leaders meeting for an Arab League economic summit in Riyadh.
The head of the 22-member bloc urged the Arab leaders to call "the UN Security Council for an immediate meeting and to issue a resolution enforcing a ceasefire to stop the bloodbath".
He also called for an "international monitoring force to make sure that fighting has stopped".
Meanwhile, UN leader Ban Ki-moon and his Syria conflict envoy hit out at "outside powers" for providing arms to rebels and the government that are fueling the murderous death toll.
The UN secretary-general and UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi both expressed "anguish" at the carnage in the 22-month-old conflict and the major powers' failure to agree to a stance on the war to push the two sides into talks, said Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky.
Brahimi is in New York for talks with Ban and other key officials before briefing the UN Security Council next week on his efforts to halt the civil war, which the UN says has left more than 60,000 dead.
Both men "expressed deep disappointment and anguish at the appalling levels of killing and destruction carried out by both the government and the opposition, fueled by outside powers providing weaponry to both sides," Nesirky said.
The UN did not name any countries. Russia and Iran are key arms suppliers to President Bashar al-Assad, however. The Syrian government in turn accuses Qatar, Turkey and other Gulf states of arming the opposition.
Ban and Brahimi also "expressed their consternation about the lack of a unified international posture that could lead to a transition as agreed at Geneva last June and put an end to the desperate suffering of the Syrian people," Nesirky added.
The United States, Russia, Britain, France and China and other key states agreed on a transition plan at the Geneva meeting with former Syria envoy Kofi Annan.
Russia and China have blocked three UN Security Council resolutions that threatened sanctions against Assad.
Moscow is now rejecting any transition that does not include Assad, at least initially. The Syrian opposition refuses to hold talks with Assad.
The United States and European powers have said that Assad must stand down.
More than 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict that erupted in March 2011 as a popular uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, according to UN figures.
Syria slammed Brahimi as biased and described his mission as "useless".
"It is clear that Brahimi is now out of the loop for the solution for Syria. He has taken sides, he is not a mediator," wrote the pro-regime daily Al-Watan on Sunday.
"Brahimi is incapable of finding a solution to the Syrian crisis."
The veteran Algerian troubleshooter had criticised as "one-sided" a proposal by Assad to end the crisis.
Moscow, a staunch ally of the Assad regime, said Monday it was sending two planes to Lebanon to evacuate more than 100 Russians from Syria.
Monitors said Syrian warplanes on Monday launched raids on two towns east of Damascus, while the army shelled and deployed new reinforcements to the rebel-held town of Daraya, as part of its bid to quell the insurgency in the outskirts of Damascus once and for all.