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Envoy for Syrian peace calls for transitional government

Lakhdar Brahimi (right), the envoy to Syria, offered no sign of a new diplomatic formula for peace.

YOUSSEF BADAWI/EPA

Lakhdar Brahimi (right), the envoy to Syria, offered no sign of a new diplomatic formula for peace.

BEIRUT — Lakhdar Brahimi, the international envoy on a mission to Damascus seeking an end to the Syrian civil war, said Thursday that a transitional government with full executive authority should be established, perhaps within months, and should rule the country until new elections could be held.

Brahimi did not say who would serve in such a government, and he offered no details about the role that Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, would play — if any. But his comments suggested that if Assad did remain in the country, he would retain none of his authority.

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“All the powers of government should be with this government,’’ Brahimi said in reference to the proposed transitional authority.

The envoy’s comments to reporters in Damascus were his most detailed since traveling to Syria on Sunday, where he met with Assad and Syrian opposition members in an effort to revive hopes of a political solution to the nearly two-year-old crisis.

But even as Brahimi and other international diplomats warned Thursday of the high cost Syrians would pay if the envoy’s efforts failed, there was no immediate sign of a new diplomatic formula that would be acceptable to both the government and its opponents.

“The situation is bad and worsening. The Syrian people are suffering unbearably,’’ Brahimi said. ‘‘We do not speak in a vacuum about theoretical things.’’

Over the past month, Brahimi, as the special Syria representative from the United Nations and Arab League, has consulted extensively with the United States and Russia in hopes of fulfilling an accord reached in Geneva this summer calling for dialogue between Syria’s government and the opposition.

As a Syrian government delegation met with Russia’s top diplomats in Moscow on Thursday, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Alexandr K. Lukashevich, said there was no specific plan under discussion.

Russia, a key ally of the government in Damascus, has long pointed to the Geneva agreement, which calls for the creation of a transitional government and talks between the antagonists as the only acceptable basis for resolving conflict.

However, the agreement does not address the question of Assad’s fate — a key problem, since many in the opposition say he must step down as a condition for talks.

In Damascus on Thursday, Brahimi also denied that he had proposed a specific plan, as many opposition members had asserted in recent days. And he said there was no agreement between the United States and Russia that he was pressing Assad to accept.

“I wish there was a US-Russia proposal for me to sell,’’ he said, adding: ‘‘I did not come here to sell.’’

The envoy said the Geneva framework ‘‘includes elements that are sufficient for a plan to end the crisis in the next few coming months,’’ mentioning elements that included a peacekeeping force to monitor a cease-fire, and the establishment of a transitional government.

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