World Bulletin / News Desk
Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League mediator on Syria, said on Monday he would make his first visit to Damascus since taking the post in a few days and hoped to meet President Bashar al-Assad.
Brahimi, who replaced Kofi Annan as international mediator on Syria this month, told reporters at the Cairo-based Arab League that his assignment was a "very difficult mission but it was not my right to refuse to do what I can to try to help the Syrian people."
He has made similar comments about his mission since he was named as the new envoy. Annan had blamed a U.N. Security Council impasse for hampering his six-month bid to broker peace leading to his decision to step down.
"I will go to Damascus after a few days and I will meet officials and people from civil society and intellectuals in the capital and, God willing, outside the capital," Brahimi said, but did not give specific timings.
Asked if he would meet the Syrian president, Brahimi said: "I hope so but I don't know."
Brahimi made no reference to Iranian reports that he planned to visit Tehran after Syria.
Iran's Mehr news agency quoted on Sunday Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi as saying that Brahimi would visit Tehran, following a phone conversation on Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
Brahimi and Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby met anti-Assad protesters outside the League headquarters in the centre of Cairo on the edge of Tahrir Square, where demonstrators had gathered to bring down Egypt's Hosni Mubarak last year.
The protesters called for the League and other nations to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, to which Elaraby replied: "We cannot. The nations that can impose a no-fly zone on Syria do not want to do so."
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.