Syria envoy calls for political change to end conflict
BEIRUT (REUTERS) - The international envoy seeking a negotiated solution to Syria's 21-month-old conflict said on Thursday political change was needed to end the violence which has killed 44,000 people.
Speaking in Damascus at the end of a five-day trip during which he met President Bashar al-Assad, Mr Lakhdar Brahimi called for a transitional government to rule until elections and said only substantial change would meet demands of ordinary Syrians.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov added to the envoy's call for a peaceful solution when he told a senior Syrian diplomat that only a "broad inter-Syria dialogue and political process" could end the crisis.
Mr Brahimi's push for a transitional government suggested he was trying to build on an international agreement in Geneva six months ago which said a provisional body - which might include members of Mr Assad's government as well as the opposition - should lead the country into a new election.