French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told an emergency gathering of representatives of 50 nations that Syria faces collapse and the “risk of extremist groups gaining ground” in the Middle East.
“The chaos is not tomorrow, it is today,” he said, according to reports from the meeting. He pleaded with countries that had promised aid to the Syrian Opposition Coalition to make good on their pledges.
The Paris meeting, attended by three senior officials from the Syrian coalition, came two days before a major donor gathering in Kuwait.
“The Syrian people are angry at this dubious silence of the world,” Riad Seif, a coalition vice president, said according to an Associated Press report from Paris. The coalition “can’t keep coming back
Brahimi, who has promoted a settlement between Bashar al-
Assad’s government and the opposition that would lead to a transitional government, was “quite negative” during talks with Security Council diplomats over the past week, according to a council diplomat.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic considerations, the person said that Assad continued to refer to the opposition as “terrorists,” while opposition leaders say they have no interest in talking unless Assad first steps down.
Brahimi has also made little headway in persuading Russia — which has blocked attempts by the United States and other Western powers to ratchet up pressure against Assad in the Security Council — to press Assad to step aside.
“The guy is stuck. He has no good news,” said a senior U.N. colleague of Brahimi’s. “Everything he has tried to do is not working.”
A third U.N. diplomat said that Brahimi is likely to continue to argue for a negotiated settlement to avert a chaotic collapse of Syria’s institutions, but he said the picture is “very grim.”
U.N. officials warned Monday of increasingly desperate conditions for about 4 million Syrians inside the war-torn country and about 650,000 in refugee camps outside. The officials said that only a small percentage has been donated toward a $1.5 billion U.N. aid target. According to U.N. figures, more than 60,000 Syrians have been killed since the uprising began nearly two years ago.
The United States is the largest individual donor, with humanitarian assistance totaling more than $200 million, and has met its pledges, according to a senior Obama administration official.
But the State Department is frustrated that little of its aid is apparently reaching the most needy deep inside Syria, and that the opposition coalition is not organized enough to receive and distribute the assistance.