World Bulletin / News Desk
Veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi has agreed to replace Kofi Annan as the international mediator on Syria, though he intends to take a fresh approach as the 17-month-old conflict slips deeper into civil war, U.N. sources said on Thursday
Annan, a former U.N. secretary-general and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is stepping down at the end of August after six months in the job. He said his Syria peace plan was hampered by a divided and deadlocked U.N. Security Council.
Diplomats told Reuters that Brahimi, who had been undecided for days about whether to accept the offer of the post from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, did not want to be seen as a mere replacement of Annan but wanted a reconfigured title and fresh approach to his mandate as a peace broker.
"He has agreed to take the post but with an amended title; he has new ideas about the approach to take," a U.N. source told Reuters on condition of anonymity, adding that Ban accepted that. Two Security Council diplomats confirmed the remarks.
U.N. officials said it was not clear when an official announcement would be made. Annan's title was joint special envoy for the United Nations and Arab League.
It remains unclear what Brahimi's formal link with the Arab League, if any, will be, diplomats said. They said Brahimi would be based in New York, unlike Annan, who is based in Geneva.
Syria had only accepted Annan as a U.N. representative of the United Nations, not the Arab League, which suspended Syria's membership due to the escalating violence between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebels determined to oust him.
Brahimi, a veteran U.N. troubleshooter, has demanded "strong support" from the Security Council for efforts to secure a negotiated peace, envoys said.
A source familiar with the situation said that if Brahimi took the job as the new U.N.-Arab League mediator, he would not continue with Annan's "failed approach" to the conflict but would seek a fresh strategy.
Many U.N. diplomats say that Annan's six-point peace plan remains a good departure point for any mediation effort.
Last week Brahimi made clear he wanted an end to the international deadlock on Syria.
"The U.N. Security Council and regional states must unite to ensure that a political transition can take place as soon as possible," Brahimi said in a statement published on the website of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders committed to peace and human rights.
"Millions of Syrians are clamoring for peace," Brahimi said. "World leaders cannot remain divided any longer, over and above their cries."
Annan was frustrated with the deadlock between the five permanent Security Council members. Russia, backed by China, repeatedly vetoed Western- and Arab-backed resolutions that criticized Damascus and threatened it with sanctions, saying the United States, Europe and Gulf Arabs were seeking regime change.
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.
The group now has legalised status in Jordan and have appointed Abdel-Maguid Zunaibat as the groups new leader
Talks between the government and opposition broke down last May, but recent events have fueled tensions.
Under current Swiss laws, an applicant has to be on Swiss territory to lodge an asylum request.
Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militia defeat Daesh in al-Dour town.
Floods – said to be the worst in 90 years – affected Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe
The streets of Mogadishu saw heavy deployments of security personnel, who set up checkpoints in order to search cars and check passengers' IDs
Several Israelis were killed or wounded amid a rise in Palestinian attacks on Israelis as tension in the region mounts.
An Iraqi antiquities official confirmed the news, saying the destruction began after noon prayers on Thursday and that trucks that may have been used to haul away artefacts had also been spotted at the site.
Mogherini told a foreign policy conference in the Latvian capital that she was committed to bringing the Iranian nuclear talks to a positive end.
The postponement of the local elections is the second time they have been pushed back.
Navalny strikes defiant tone after murder of ally Nemtsov with plans to go to Nemtsov's grave later on Friday
The source said that the three injured - a woman and her daughter who hail from the slain girl's family as well as a young man - have undergone shrapnel removal surgeries
Kurdish and Iraqi sources say the extremist group also vandalised a historical site in the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud.