The Straits Times
Published on Jan 10, 2013

Brahimi says Assad plan for Syria 'one-sided'


DAMASCUS (AFP) - Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday ahead of US-Russia talks on Syria that President Bashar al-Assad's new plan for his embattled country is "more sectarian, more one-sided" than previous initiatives.

He spoke as the first major prisoner swap in the 21-month conflict took place, with rebels freeing 48 Iranians in exchange for more than 2,000 regime detainees in a drawn-out deal with Damascus reportedly brokered by Turkey, Qatar and Iran.

UN and Arab League envoy Brahimi was giving his first public reaction to a three-step plan announced by Mr Assad on Sunday.

"What has been said this time is not really different and it is perhaps even more sectarian, more one-sided," he told the BBC.