International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi expressed little hope for a political solution for Syria anytime soon after meeting Friday with senior Russian and U.S. diplomats trying to bring an end to the civil war, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Brahimi, who is the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, spent the day at the United Nations’ European headquarters meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.
“We are very, very deeply aware of the immense suffering of the Syrian people, which has gone on for far too long,” Brahimi said. “And we all stressed the need for a speedy end to the bloodshed, to the destruction and all forms of violence in Syria."
But he acknowledged that “if you are asking me whether a solution is around the corner, I’m not sure that is the case.”
Brahimi had led them off to lunch after more than an hour of closed discussions, with Bogdanov and Burns talking among themselves as they and their entourages navigated the U.N. corridors. But after meeting for about four hours, the talks ended Friday mid-afternoon without any apparent deal. Bogdanov and Burns left without making any public comment.
Russia has blocked several U.N. resolutions aimed at pressuring Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Moscow says it is not propping up his regime. Recently, top Russian officials have signaled they are resigned to Assad eventually losing power.