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U.N.-Arab League envoy regrets Syria truce not successful

A member of the Free Syrian Army stands guard at Bab El-Hawa duty free shopping centre on the outskirts of Idlib, near the Syria-Turkey bord
A member of the Free Syrian Army stands guard at Bab El-Hawa duty free shopping centre on the outskirts of Idlib, near the Syria-Turkey bord

MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi expressed regret on Monday that a U.N.-brokered truce had not been more successful in Syria but said he would not let this discourage his peace efforts.

Brahimi also said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow that there was no immediate plan to send U.N. peacekeepers to the Middle East country.

"I am terribly sorry ... that this appeal (for a truce) has not been heard to the level we hoped it would, but that will not discourage us. It will not discourage us because Syria is very important and the people of Syria deserve our support and interest," he told a news conference.

Asked whether the United Nations might send a peacekeeping mission to Syria, he said: "There is no plan for the moment to send a peacekeeping mission, but just the contingency planning, because this may indeed become a possibility in the future."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad kept up air strikes against rebels on Monday, the final day of a truce that has been broken by air attacks and fighting between the two sides across the country.

Brahimi will visit Beijing after Moscow, China's Foreign Ministry said. The two countries have vetoed three U.N. resolutions condemning Assad's government for the violence.

"We think this civil war must end ... and the new Syria has to be built by all its sons," Brahimi said. "The support of Russia and other members of the Security Council is indispensable."

(Reporting by Thomas Grove, writing by Nasatssia Astrasheuskaya, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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