Syrian president's aide in Delhi
By Sheikh Manzoor, New Delhi, March 5 : Syrian President's Basser Assad's special envoy Buthaina Shabaan arrived here Tuesday on a three-day visit to deliver his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and apprise External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on the ongoing conflict in her country.
Shabaan, who is Assad's political and information advisor, is also expected to inform the prime minister about her government' stand on the latest peace moves initiated by Russia and the United States to end two-year old turmoil in her country.
Over 70,000 people have been killed and more than one million displaced in the strife torn Syria in the past two years.
Shabaan will also meet Minister of State for External affairs E Ahmed.
On Tuesday, Shabaan held consultations with members of the Syrian diplomatic mission, including Ambassador Riad Abbas today.
Shabaan had visted India along with Assad in 2008. She also visited India after that for further consultations.
The visit follows Iranian Speaker Ali Larijani's talks with the prime minister, the external affairs minister and other leaders, during which Syrian situation came up for extensive discussion. Iran wants India to play a major role in international affairs as it has emerged as a major regional power.
Syria feels that India, like Russia, Iran and China should play a positive role in ending violence in that country. It is supportive of UN-Arab League Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's initiative on direct negotiations between the warring factions.
Syria has accused the West and some Arab nations of arming the rebels. It also claimed that the Friends of Syria group was encouraging extremists forces seize power by force.
India, on many occasions, has opposed military intervention in Syria and advocated a negotiated settlement. India has told the United Nations that further militarisation of the conflict will make a political settlement complicated and difficult. It expressed concern that neither side to the Syrian crisis showed interest in implementing the UN peace plan.
(Sheikh Manzoor can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)