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Former U.S. UN envoy urges for greater U.S. involvement in Syria

(Xinhua)

08:19, August 09, 2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Former U.S. ambassador the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad on Wednesday urged for greater U.S. involvement in Syria, including forming a "coalition of the relevant," arming the rebels and seeking an understanding with Russia.

Writing in an op-ed article published in The Washington Post, Khalilzad, who served as the U.S. envoy to the UN during 2007 to 2009, said the U.S. has a window to facilitate an orderly transition in Syria without deploying military force.

"But the window is narrowing - and the Obama administration will need to adjust its political strategy to succeed," he warned.

Khalilzad noted that the current U.S. focus on engaging the UN Security Council and the Friends of Syria, a French-created group of 88 states and several international organizations, has failed to make progress, while providing only non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition "is prolonging unfavorable trends on the battlefield."

The former envoy put up five proposals on how the United States can facilitate "an orderly transition without deploying force," including forming a "coalition of the relevant," appointing a special envoy to work with the coalition to help the Syrian opposition, directly arming the Syrian rebels, seeking understanding with Russia, and letting the UN play a major role in Syria's political transition.

He said the "coalition of the relevant" refers to a select group of like-minded countries "that have significant leverage and influence in Syria."

It should comprise not only the UN, the Friends of Syria and NATO, but also Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and other Gulf states.

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