DAMASCUS, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- International envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi threw his support Sunday behind the call for negotiations made by head of Syria's opposition coalition Moaz al- Khatib, as Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi urged all Syrian parties to engage in the political process outlined by President Bashar al-Assad.
At a joint press conference with AL Secretary-General Nabil al- Arabi in Cairo, Brahimi urged Sunday all sides of the conflict in Syria, the Arab region and the international community to respond to al-Khatib's call for dialogue.
The veteran Algerian troubleshooter also suggested that initial dialogue sessions better be held in the headquarters of the United Nations. "We believe that if the dialogue starts at the UN headquarters between the opposition and a delegation from the Syrian government, it will be a beginning for getting Syria out of this dark tunnel," Brahimi said.
For his part, al-Arabi said he would head a delegation of at least four Arab countries to Moscow to partake in an Arab-Russian forum, noting that the Syrian crisis would top its agenda.
The opposition leader recently declared his readiness to embark on negotiations with the Syrian government so long as it would finally lead to the departure of the Damascus administration. However, the government said earlier that the dialogue should not be based on preconditions and stressed that any dialogue should be held on the Syrian soil.
Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi called on all Syrian people to engage in a political process on the Syrian soil to end the country's long-standing crisis in accordance to the political vision outlined by al-Assad.
The minister's remarks came during a cabinet session, during which he said his government has given assurances to make the political process a success, stressing that "no one would be excluded from the dialogue... We will not exclude anyone."
The Syrian government is working to establish the political program on the Syrian soil and is serious about embarking on a national dialogue, he said, noting that the political plan put forward by Assad was based on "national goals."
Assad offered a three-phase initiative to politically resolve the crisis, which includes a cease-fire, a comprehensive national dialogue on a "national charter", and the establishment of a broad- based government and parliament.
The president also described the conflict as one not between the authority and the opposition, but "between the nation and our enemies," calling for defending the country.
Despite the ostensible agreement on dialogue, both sides are promoting their own versions of a dialogue: the Syrian government wants the dialogue to take place in Syria with the "patriotic opposition" that rejects foreign intervention and denounces the rebels' acts on the ground, while the opposition wants negotiations that would eventually lead in Assad handing over the power.
With those facts, the international community has a task to create a common ground for both sides to come up with a workable plan to make the dialogue possible.
Russia is set to host both Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al- Moallem and al-Khatib by the end of February. Damascus said al- Moallem will meet with Russian officials, brushing aside rumors that Russia is working to get the opponents on one table.
However, media reports hinted that Moscow is trying to bridge the gap between the two sides so as to push for a political process to salvage the region from the bloody quagmire it was plunged in since two years ago.
Observers also believe that there is a shift in the Western stances toward a political solution to the Syrian crisis as the country has been locked into a bloody stalemate, especially with the surge of the radical jihadists, whose presence has overwhelmed the ranks of the rebels.
Meanwhile, activist groups reported Sunday that fighting between the rebels and the government troops in many hotspots across Syria showed no signs of backing down.
Last week, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay placed the overall death toll of Syria's 23-month-old crisis at nearly 70,000.
CAIRO, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations-Arab League (AL) joint envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi urged Sunday all sides of conflict in Syria, the Arab region and the international community to respond to the Syrian opposition leader's call for dialogue, official MENA news agency reported.
At a joint press conference with AL Secretary-General Nabil al- Arabi in Cairo, Brahimi said that the exiled Syrian Opposition Coalition leader Moaz al-Khatib's call for dialogue with the government of President Bashar al-Assad was "still open." Full story
DAMASCUS, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Prime Minister Wael al- Halqi has called on all components of the Syrian people to engage in a political process on the Syrian soil to end the country's long-standing crisis in accordance to the political vision outlined recently by President Bashar al-Assad.
The minister's remarks came during a cabinet session Sunday aired live on the state TV, during which al-Halqi said his government has given assurances to make the political process a success, stressing that "no one would be excluded from the dialogue... We will not exclude anyone." Full story