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Lamani meets Haidar on Sunday (SANA)
Lamani meets Haidar on Sunday (SANA)

Lamani says Opposition Divisions an Obstacle to resolving Syria Conflict

(Omar al-Shaar | Dp-news)
Syria- The large number of deeply divided rebel groups is one of the main obstacles the work of an international mission trying to broker an end Syria's 18-month crisis, the Damascus representative of the U.N. envoy told The Associated Press (AP) on Monday as violence rages in the country.

Mokhtar Lamani, who represents special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in the Syrian capital, told The Associated Press in an interview that a solution to the country's crisis remains very difficult because of the "high level of mistrust between all parties."

Most opposition groups say they will accept nothing less than President Bashar al-Assad's departure from power, while the regime says its opponents are working as part of a foreign conspiracy.

Lamani said Brahimi, who had visited Damascus last month, will pay a second visit to Syria soon and will tour the country.

Asked whether he still sees hope of a political solution in Syria despite all the bloodshed, Lamani said: "I think maybe the time will be too long, but I hope (so) ... and this is what I am here for because I hope that in the end there would be some light."

Lamani noted that he had recently made visits to the central province of Homs and the southern province of Daraa, adding that he met representatives of armed groups in the town of Rastan, a rebel stronghold in Homs that was among the first areas to take up arms against Assad's regime. He did not provide any details of his meetings.

Lamani said that some of the main obstacles to brokering a resolution to the conflict are divisions among rebels and opposition groups. Syria has large numbers of such groups inside and outside the country, and relations among them have been dogged by infighting and accusations of treachery.

The rebels include army defectors and gunmen who work under the rag-tag Free Syrian Army, according to AP report.

Despite months spent trying to cobble together a common front, attempts to unite the opposition have so far failed.

"There are so many opposition parties inside and outside Syria in addition to the armed groups," Lamani said in Damascus. "This is a little bit very dangerous and complicating our mission because of this kind of fragmentation."

On Sunday, the Canadian diplomat Mokhtar Lamani, head the Damascus office of UN envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, met with Syrian Minister of National Reconciliation Ali Haidar.

In a statement to journalists following the meeting, Lamani said he discussed with Haidar the aspects of the Syrian crisis, internally and regionally.

He said he visited the central city of Homs on Saturday to "have an overview at the rate of destruction."

He also said he got in contact with a number of armed opposition figures in Homs, adding that he will continue such liaisons with all parties of the Syrian conflict.

For his side, Dr. Haidar stressed that the Syrian government does not mind the meeting between Lamani and any other Syrian party, whether it is armed or unarmed.

Haidar said that these meetings came within the framework of formulating a viewpoint regarding the crisis in Syria, not to make a decision on who represents the Syrian people.

Dr. Haidar said that his meeting with Lamani discussed means of helping the UN mission present in Syria to make practical steps and start to implement its tasks.

Regarding the Qatari call for military intervention in Syria, Haidar said that those who followed Brahimi's speech at the United Nations knew that Brahimi stressed rejection of military intervention in Syria "as he knew that such thing will spoil all efforts to solve crisis in Syria."

Dr. Haidar indicated that those who suggest military intervention in Syria seek to prolong the crisis instead of solving it.

UN & Arab League envoy for Syria crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, took over the post of UN-Arab League joint envoy for Syria last month, succeeding Kofi Annan, who resigned in frustration over the failed efforts to end the Syrian crisis, which activists say has claimed 23,000 to 26,000 lives.

The uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad erupted around March, 2011. It began with anti-government protests but has gradually morphed into a bloody civil war that has spread across the country. Since then, rebels have taken over patches of territory, mostly near the northern border with Turkey.
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