Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani answers questions during a 2011 press conference in Doha. UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is considering proposing the deployment of peacekeepers to Syria if a deal on a transition is reached, according to a member of the opposition Syrian National Council. © - AFP/File
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani
Faisal Baatout, AFP
Last updated: October 15, 2012

UN envoy mulls Syria peacekeepers

UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is considering proposing the deployment of peacekeepers to Syria if a deal on a transition is reached, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council said on Monday.

One of Brahimi's ideas "is considering the deployment of peacekeeping forces which would accompany any political proposal," the head of the SNC's media office Ahmed Ramadan told AFP in Doha as the exiled opposition group began a meeting in the Qatari capital.

"But this issue is still being discussed," he added.

Qatar's prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani told reporters that any such force must be "well-armed."

"Any mission that is not well-armed will not fulfil its aim. For this, it must have enough members and equipment to carry out its duty," he said.

Qatar's emir Sheikh Hamad called last month for Arab military intervention in Syria because of the failure of the UN Security Council and other international bodies to end the conflict.

"What's important is ending bloodshed," said the Qatari premier, "whether it's an Arab or UN mission."

He also demanded a "courageous decision from Syrian authorities to stop the bloodshed and respond to the demands of the Syrian people."

A UN observer mission deployed to oversee an abortive peace plan brokered by Brahimi's predecessor as envoy, Kofi Annan, in April was withdrawn in August.

Brahimi was in Iraq on Monday on the latest leg of a regional tour that has also taken him to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran.

While in Istanbul at the weekend, he met SNC representatives, Ramadan said.

The SNC's 35-member general secretariat was meeting in Doha to "discuss the situation on the ground, political developments and the problem of refugees," he said.

The two-day meeting will "discuss the establishment of mechanisms to administer the areas which have been liberated" by the rebels, he added.

A senior member of the bloc, Louay al-Safi, said that other issues such as "restructuring the SNC and expanding it to include other political activists and civil society representatives will also be discussed."

Another meeting will be held on October 22 in Qatar which will bring together other factions and independent opposition figures for talks.

The SNC has postponed until early November a meeting which was set to take place this week to admit other opposition groups into its ranks.

Next month's meeting will also elect a successor to current SNC leader Abdel Basset Saydaa, a Kurd appointed in June.

SNC sources have said the delay reflects divisions over broadening the support base of the bloc, which is committed to the armed struggle against President Bashar al-Assad's regime and has said it will not admit factions that oppose it.

Now in its 20th month, the conflict has left more than 33,000 people dead, mainly civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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