Syria media denounces ‘ageing tourist’ Brahimi (14/01/2013, The Daily Star)

Syria’s official media lashed out at UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Monday, denouncing him as an « ageing tourist » after his criticism of President Bashar al-Assad’s peace plan.

The latest attack on the veteran Algerian diplomat follows stinging criticism by the regime and its media since Brahimi last week termed the plan announced by Assad as « perhaps even more sectarian, more one-sided » than previous initiatives.

« Lakhdar Brahimi is like an ageing tourist travelling for pleasure to capital cities across the world, » said Syria’s official newspaper Al-Thawra.

« He has done nothing but try to make political settlements for Syria’s crisis fail. »

Al-Thawra criticised the envoy for not denouncing Syrian rebels, which the regime terms « armed terrorist groups ».

« If he doesn’t have a solution, he’d better leave the Syrians alone, » the paper said.

The ruling party mouthpiece Al-Baath also targeted Brahimi.

« He tries to choose on behalf of the people which parties to engage with in the settlement, » it said referring to Brahimi’s frequent suggestions that the solution to the conflict remained in the hands of the Syrian people.

In « three brief visits to Damascus … he has not visited other Syrian provinces in order to hear the opinion of different kinds of people, » Al-Baath said, adding that the diplomat « has enough » just speaking to US ambassador Robert Ford.

Since the start of an anti-Assad uprising in March 2011, Damascus has accused foreign powers of working towards the president’s downfall, and has refused to recognise the existence of any genuine movement for change in the strife-torn country.

The UN says more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria’s 22-month conflict.

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