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.
The announcement comes ahead of the anniversary on Oct. 26 of a demonstration last year in which dozens of Saudi women said they had taken to the road in protest at the ban on female drivers
The presence of Israeli settlers in 37 of the village's flats brings Palestinians face to face with what they shudder at the most: the success of Israeli settlers in buying homes in Jerusalem, thus changing the demographic nature of the city
U.S. led coalition planes bombs ISIL objectives in the city, as intense fighting in the city continues
The Pakistan Foreign Office has accused India of attempting to build new bunkers along its eastern border in violation of bilateral agreements.
Ed Miliband promised to crack down on immigration if his party is elected next year, seeking to woo voters tempted by the anti-EU UK Independence Party
A total of 15 strikes were staged against ISIL in Iraq and Syria on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a statement from Central Command.
Organization with alleged links to Muslim Brotherhood could face restrictions in government crackdown
"I'm in Belgrade for the first time in 25 years," Hoxhaj told reporters, "It shows how difficult the journey was to come to Belgrade, (just) a four-hour drive up the road."
The Irish parliament embarks on recognizing Palestinian State, following the announcement of the British and Swedish parliaments.
Our southern neighbors use every excuse to suspend peace talks, and leave the negotiation table, Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu says
Turkey should allow the passage of peshmerga forces and weapons from northern Iraq to help Kurds in Kobani to push ISIL back, Iraqi Kurdish politician says
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said Germany would also "most likely" provide military training to the Kurdish militant groups.
Trade and Industry Minister Yoichi Miyazawa, appointed Tuesday, faces scandal over bar payment
Broadcasters and advertisers among group arrested in nationwide operation
Albayrak aims to build four new berths and repair others, bringing the number of working berths to 10.
Event participants in Addis Ababa are expected to discuss various topics related to federalism, including fiscal federalism