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.
Since July 7, Israel has pummeled the Gaza Strip – from air, land and sea – with the ostensible aim of halting Palestinian rocket fire.
Pools of blood lay on the ground and on students' desks in the courtyard of the school near the apparent impact mark of the shell,
More than 75,000 made the trip in the first six months of the year, landing up in Italy, Greece, Spain and Malta, the UNHCR agency said. Their number included 10,500 children
The commander of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea last month said he had proposed deploying a THAAD advanced missile-defence system to the country
A diplomat in the Malian capital Bamako said that the north of the country - which lies on the plane's likely flight path - was struck by a powerful sandstorm overnight.
Female asylum seekers with infants recently asked for bigger rooms so their children can learn to walk and crawl, as they are currently "confined in the extreme heat" in metal containers measuring 3m by 3m.
Shortly before the trial, Evans made a deal with prosecutors and admitted he had carried out more than 1,000 hacks involving some 200 victims
Ban's meeting with Shi'ite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani underscored the 83-year-old cleric's vast sway in Iraq, where Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is considered a polarising figure
The "360 degree view" will allow German intelligence officers to watch U.S. and British agents on German soil and marks a shift from the previous focus on Russians, Chinese and Iranians
"As this campaign goes on and the civilian casualties in Gaza mount, Western public opinion is becoming more and more concerned and less and less sympathetic to Israel," Hammond told Sky News
Senior Defence Ministry official Amos Gilad said: "These are not prisoners of war. These are detainees. These are not people who are recognised under international treaties. They are murderers and terrorists."
Two gunmen on a motorbike approached the aid workers' taxi and opened fire
The UK has repeatedly been told by the European court of human rights that the law banning inmates from voting breaches their rights.
23 regime soldiers killed in Homs, according to the Syrian Revolution General Commission.
The biggest international medical aid group in the state was expelled after the treatment of victims of massacre against Rohingya.
The Gaza Strip at night as seen from the International Space Station.