UN envoy meets US, Russia for Syria talks

JOHN HEILPRIN Associated Press Published:

GENEVA (AP) -- International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is meeting with senior Russian and United States diplomats in an attempt to find a political solution to Syria's conflict that has so far claimed over 60,000 lives.

Brahimi, who is the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, arrived Friday morning at the U.N.'s European headquarters and strode past a row of TV cameras and journalists without saying a word about the details of the discussion.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Brahimi has met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

Russia has blocked several U.N. resolutions aimed at pressuring Syria's President Bashar Assad, but Moscow says it is not propping up his regime. Top Russian officials in recent weeks have signaled that they are resigned to Assad eventually losing power.

The conflict began in March 2011 with peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad's family dynasty, which has ruled the country for four decades, but the intense crackdown on the uprising and armed rebel opposition soon transformed into a civil war.

The U.N. says at least 60,000 people have been killed in the war and millions have fled. All international efforts so far to bring about an end to the fighting.

Syria has accused Brahimi of "flagrant bias" after he called for real, not cosmetic change in Syria and accused Assad of resisting the aspirations of his people.