On March 26, the Arab League handed Syria’s seat to the so-called National Coalition during a two-day summit held in the Qatari capital, Doha. Two days later, Moscow criticized the move, saying it cast questions over the position of UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.Russia says reports that UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi intends to cut ties with the Arab League are understandable as the organization undermined his role by handing Syria’s seat to the Western-backed opposition. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that as a “professional and conscientious person,” Brahimi could not react differently to the move by the Arab League. Recent reports indicated that Brahimi sought to mediate the issue of Syria only on behalf of the United Nations, intending to cut official ties with the Arab League. On March 26, the Arab League handed Syria’s seat to the so-called National Coalition during a two-day summit held in the Qatari capital, Doha. Two days later, Moscow criticized the move, saying it cast questions over the position of Brahimi. Lavrov also stated that Brahimi would not be able to properly handle his mediating duties between the Syrian sides while one of the two organizations issuing him the mandate “has stopped all support of the negotiations.” The Russian minister further said the Arab organization no longer recognized the Syrian government and regarded the opposition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrians.
“I simply cannot see how Mr. Brahimi could still be considered not only the UN mediator, but for the Arab League as well,” Lavrov said.Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has dismissed reports about Brahimi, saying that the special envoy would continue to broker negotiations between Damascus and the Syrian opposition on behalf of both the UN and the Arab League. The 78-year-old veteran Algerian diplomat replaced Kofi Annan in September 2012 to launch fresh efforts to end more than two years of deadly unrest in Syria. MKA/HSN