February 3, 2014 (TSR) – Nasser al-Kidwa, the deputy of international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, has been removed from the small team running the Geneva 2 peace talks that aim to end the war in Syria, diplomatic sources said on Monday.
“He has been sacked,” one of the diplomats said.
Another member of Brahimi’s team declined to comment.
Al-Kidwa, a former foreign minister of the Palestinian authority and nephew of Yasser Arafat, was appointed as a deputy to Brahimi’s predecessor Kofi Annan in March 2012, and continued in the role under Brahimi.
Following the failure of Geneva II talks, the United Nations has censured the failure of such talks on Syria to find a concrete resolution to the humanitarian crisis in the country.
The Geneva negotiations ended Friday with no concrete results, but the UN said that the sides to the conflict in Syria agreed to meet again on February 10.
Brahimi said huge differences remain between the parties following a week of discussions on the ongoing crisis.
“The gaps between the sides remain wide; there is no use pretending otherwise.”
“Nevertheless, during our discussions, I observed a little bit of common ground – perhaps more than the two sides realize or recognize,” he said.
The depth of the crisis does not allow Syrians “to get out of the ditch overnight,” Brahimi stated.
The so-called Syrian National Council (SNC) and its Western supporters insist that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down and a transitional government be formed in Syria.
However, Damascus rejects the demand, arguing that the SNC does not represent the Syrian opposition.