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.
Two people have been killed while walking past mud house in search of accommodation during Thursday night’s rainstorm
The Southern African Development Community have decided to send a team to the Kingdom of Lesotho to investigate the murder of a former military commander
According to IMF data, Greece is followed by Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Greek Cypriot administration and Belgium in a list of countries with high debts compared to their GDP
Canada granted permissions for foreign countries to interrogate their citizens after they were assured that they would not be subject to torture
Brazil has unveiled the new Olympic torch and 12,000 torchbearers will carry flame along 20,000-kilometer route around Brazil
French President Francois Hollande is ready to to hold a summit regarding Boko Haram
A non-governmental organization has raised alarm over an increase in Islamophobic attacks in France six months after the January Charlie Hebdo shootings
Russian parliament approves Internet privacy bill that would require Internet search engines to remove users' personal information from their results.
Greek referendum Grexit poll results shows 'No' vote at 43 pct, 'Yes' vote at 42.5 pct
Human Rights Council denounces Israel’s refusal to cooperate with Gaza commission
The head of Greece's banking association says Greek banks have 1 bln euro liquidity cushion
More than 70 percent of Kenya's electricity comes from green and other renewable energy sources
Administration stands down after prime minister defeated in party poll
Before the first anniversary of Israel launching "Operation Protective Edge" UN calls to prosecute Gaza war crimes.
Worshippers from Jerusalem and the West Bank started flocking to Al-Aqsa Mosque from dawn. Hundreds of Israeli police officers were spread out across the entrances and exits.