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Syria's new UN mediator Brahimi enters the fray

The UN peace envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is set to make his first trip to the area after being named to the post. He's tasked with negotiating a diplomatic end to the bloodshed, but is doubtful of his chances.

Zwei Männer vor einem Gebäude mit eingerissener Außenwand / One rocket landed on this building, killing 5 --including a father and his son passing by on a motorcycle. In Ma'at Masrin just as in the rest of the country, civilians are bearing the brunt of the tit-for-tat violence. Foto: Marine Olivesi, August 2012

Syrien Not und Zerstörung

The exact date of Brahimi's first trip to Damascus has yet to be fixed as the last details of the meetings he will hold there are finalized. He said he only wants to go to Damascus if he is guaranteed a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

First on Brahimi's agenda however are a series of meetings on Monday in Cairo. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi are among those scheduled to hold talks with Brahimi.

Morsi recently came out against the Syrian regime at a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran.

Brahimi has said he is not confident he'll have any more luck than Annan did in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria, which has gone on for 18 months.

Syrian's northern city of Aleppo is reported to have come under renewed bombardment by government forces on Sunday, with an opposition activist telling the Reuters news agency that dozens of people had been killed or wounded.

Diplomatic deadlock

Part of the problem in reaching a diplomatic solution lies in the fact that the international community can't agree on the best way to intervene.

Most members of the UN Security Council support a resolution that would call for an end to the bloodshed and include consequences against Assad's regime if the measures aren't implemented.

China and Russia, however, have used their power of veto in the Security Council to strike down three previous resolutions that had been proposed.

Talks between the top US and Russian diplomats on the fringes of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok failed to bring the two sides any closer together as they seek a consensus on what to do next.

"We have to be realistic. We haven't seen eye-to-eye," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters as the summit wrapped up on Sunday.

"I will continue to work with (Russian) Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to see if we can revisit the idea of putting the Syrian transition plan that we agreed to in Geneva earlier this summer into a Security Council resolution," Clinton added.

Lavrov had told reporters on Saturday that it was Russia's aim to get such a resolution adopted by the Security Council. Clinton, though, warned that any resolution could "only be effective if it includes consequences for non-compliance."

mz,pfd/jm (Reuters, AFP, dpa)