World Bulletin / News Desk
Veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi is expected to replace Kofi Annan as the U.N.-Arab League joint special envoy for Syria barring a last-minute change, diplomats said on Thursday.
The former Algerian foreign minister, who has a long history as a diplomatic troubleshooter, will have his work cut out for him in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is using his security forces to try to crush a 17-month-old pro-democracy rebellion.
Annan, a former U.N. secretary-general and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said last week he would step down as the special envoy because he was unable to do his job with the U.N. Security Council hopelessly deadlocked over Syria.
Brahimi's appointment could be announced as early as next week but the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there are sometimes last-minute changes if a key government has concerns about the choice or the candidate has misgivings.
Brahimi, 78, has served as a U.N. special envoy in a series of challenging circumstances, including in Iraq after the U.S. invasion, in Afghanistan both before and after the end of Taliban rule and in South Africa as it emerged from the apartheid era.
Syria, however, may present an unusually vexing assignment, in part because international action to try to end the violence has been stymied by the disagreements between the five veto-holding permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
While the council united in April to approve the deployment of 300 monitors to Syria to observe a failed ceasefire as part of Annan's peace plan, Russia and China vetoed three other resolutions that criticized Syria and threatened sanctions against Damascus.
In announcing his resignation, Annan explicitly blamed "finger-pointing and name-calling" at the Security Council for his decision to quit, but suggested his successor may have better luck.
Assad's forces have killed more than 15,000 people since March of 2011 in a sustained effort to end the anti-government rebellion, some Western leaders say. Damascus says the rebels have killed several thousand members of its security forces.
Assad has suffered a series of blows in recent weeks, including the defection of his prime minister, Riyad Hijab, on Monday and the assassination of four of his top security officials last month.
He named a new prime minister, Wael al-Halki, on Thursday as government forces pushed rebels back from a strategic district in Aleppo, Syria's commercial hub and largest city.
In accepting Annan's resignation, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thanked him for having taken on "this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments."
A spokesman for Ban, who is expected to formally name Annan's successor, was not immediately available for comment.
Ukraine has informed the Russian airline it will impose tight restrictions on the entry of Russian men into the country
Ukrainian central broadcasting officials confirmed that the group, who were assumed to be pro-Russia separatists, had managed to twice unplug two Ukrainian news channels
Chinese Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun said at a meeting with counterparts from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to tighten control over the Internet and take other steps to prevent "external forces" from fomenting revolution
Ukrainian, Russian and Western diplomats held emergency talks seeking to resolve a confrontation that has seen pro-Russian fighters seize official buildings across eastern Ukraine while Moscow masses tens of thousands of troops on the frontier
The IAEA update showed that Iran had diluted half of its higher-grade enriched uranium reserve to a fissile content less prone to bomb proliferation.
The statement came after U.N. sanctions monitors called for the world body to stop allowing arms to be shipped to the U.N. mission in Mali after they said a load of military hardware sent by China violated U.N. restrictions.
Government officials in the tiny central African state reacted angrily to the warning by the U.N. mission
The European Rohingya Council accused Myanmar of "slow-burning genocide".
The brigades have claimed responsibility for two suicide attacks on the Iranian embassy in Beirut in February of this year and last November.
A multinational group of five small ships - four minesweepers and a support vessel - will be sent to the Baltic Sea "for the foreseeable future",
According to the official, the peacekeeping force will be composed of troops from all five IGAD member states: Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia.
The officials said the original list had been based on estimates, not exact amounts of toxic agents found in storage and production facilities across Syria.
Having already called for the state to be accepted into NATO alongside Georgia to protect them from Russian expansion plans, McCain reiterated these calls in his visit to students at the Academy for Economic Studies.
A 48-hour RMT strike in February brought the network to a virtual standstill and caused travel misery for millions of commuters
The Friends of Yemen group pledged around $7.9 billion in aid in 2012, but most of the funds have been delayed because of technical issues and lagging approvals by donor heads of state
Belarus and Kazakhstan are already members alongside Russia, with Armenia expected to join the bloc soon.