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Chance of agreeing Syria ceasefire small -Arab official - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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DUBAI, (Reuters) – A Muslim holiday this week provides only a small window of hope for agreement on a ceasefire between Syria’s rebels and the government of President Bashar al-Assad, a senior Arab League official said on Tuesday.

United Nations and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has been pushing for a temporary ceasefire to mark the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, which will begin on Friday and last over the weekend.

But Ahmed Ben Hilli, deputy secretary-general of the Arab League, told Reuters: “Until now the hope is weak …

“The indications that are now apparent and the government’s reaction … do not show any signs of a real desire to implement this ceasefire,” he said on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

“We are days away from Eid. We hope the situation changes and the government and opposition respond even a little bit to this door for negotiations.”

Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the Syrian government and all opposition groups to accept Brahimi’s proposal, calling it “a necessary step toward a long-term ceasefire and the launch of a political process aimed at providing for a Syrian democratic renewal”.

Like Assad, Russia has laid most of the blame for the continuing violence on the rebels, who it says are aided by encouragement and weapons from abroad.

In Damascus on Sunday, Assad told Brahimi the key to any political solution was to stop the arming of the rebels.

Human rights activists say the conflict, which has drawn in regional and international powers backing different sides, has killed more than 30,000 people since protests against Assad erupted in March last year.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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