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U.N. Syria envoy calls on government to start truce

By The Associated Press

This article was published October 17, 2012 at 8:17 a.m.

un-envoy-on-syria-lakhdar-brahimi-speaks-at-a-news-conference-in-baghdad-on-monday-oct-15-2012

U.N. envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi speaks at a news conference in Baghdad on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012.

— The international envoy to the Syrian conflict Wednesday called on President Bashar Assad’s regime to take the lead in a cease-fire during a major Muslim holiday later this month, calling it a “microscopic” step toward ending a crisis that he said could consume the whole region.

Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Beirut on Wednesday that if the government initiates the cease-fire, everyone he has talked to on the rebel side has said they also will observe the truce.

Brahimi’s push to get Assad and rebels seeking to topple him to stop fighting for the four-day Eid al-Adha feast set to begin Oct. 26 reflects how little progress international diplomacy has made in stopping 19 months of deadly violence in Syria.

Unlike his predecessor as joint U.N.-Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, Brahimi has said he has no grand plan to solve Syria’s crisis. Instead, he presented the truce as a “microscopic” step that would lessen Syrian sorrow temporarily and could be the basis for a longer truce.

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