Assad tells new envoy: Arms deliveries should stop
International envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, met for an hour with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday. He stressed the danger of war in Syria could spread to the whole world. This was Brahimi's first meeting with President Assad since the Algerian diplomat replaced Kofi Annan as envoy to Syria two weeks ago. He described his mission as "almost impossible."
"We discussed the Syrian crisis, and I repeat, this crisis is very dangerous," he told the press after the talks at the presidential palace in Damascus. "The crisis is getting worse and is a danger to the Syrian people, for the region and for the whole world," he added. "I think that President Assad realizes better than I the scope and danger of this crisis."
He said that Bashar al-Assad and his advisers had promised to support his efforts. He added that he would return to the region shortly after meeting with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon in New York.
Bashar al-Assad has meanwhile told Lakhdar Brahimi the success of his mission would depend on his ability to "put pressure on countries that fund and train terrorists and deliver weapons into Syria,"the official SANA news agency reported.
These remarks came as Pope Benedict XVI, who pays a three-day visit to neighboring Lebanon, also pleaded for an end to arms shipments to Syria, which he described as a "serious sin."
Arrived Thursday in Damascus, Mr. Brahimi had contacted Friday with members of the Coordinating Committee for Democratic National Change (CCCND, a domestic opposition group). He also met Russian and Chinese diplomats in Damascus.
The Syrian representative to the UN, Bashar has Jafaari recently said that Damascus would give full support in a spirit of openness to Mr. Brahimi's mission in an attempt to end the violence and find a political solution to the internal crisis ".
On the ground, violence continued in several parts of the country, especially in the two main cities of Syria, Damascus and Aleppo. The death toll amounted to at least 37 on Saturday.