World Bulletin/News Desk
The United Nations on Friday confirmed that veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi will replace former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the international mediator on Syria as the 17-month-old conflict slides deeper into civil war.
"The Secretary-General appreciates Mr. Brahimi's willingness to bring his considerable talents and experience to this crucial task for which he will need, and rightly expects, the strong, clear and unified support of the international community, including the Security Council," said U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey.
The announcement confirmed what diplomats told Reuters on Thursday.
Brahimi, who hesitated for days to accept a job that France's U.N. envoy Gerard Araud called an "impossible mission," will have a new title, Joint Special Representative for Syria. Diplomats said the change was to distance himself from Annan.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby back his appointment, del Buey said. Diplomats said all Security Council members support Brahimi.
"Diplomacy to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria remains a top priority for the United Nations," del Buey said.
"More fighting and militarization will only exacerbate the suffering and make more difficult the path to a peaceful resolution of the crisis which would lead to a political transition in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people," he said.
U.N. officials told Reuters that Brahimi was expected to arrive in New York next week to meet with Ban and discuss plans for a fresh approach to the Syria conflict, which the United Nations says has killed over 18,000 people.
Del Buey said Ban thanked Annan, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who accepted the job of Joint Special Envoy for Syria six months ago, "for his selfless efforts and contributions to the march for peace in Syria."
Annan, who is stepping down at the end of this month, has said his Syria peace plan was hampered by a divided U.N. Security Council.
Annan was especially frustrated by the deadlock between the five permanent council members. Russia, backed by China, repeatedly vetoed Western- and Arab-backed resolutions that criticized the Syrian government and threatened it with sanctions, saying the United States, Europe and Gulf Arabs were seeking regime change.
The Western powers have in turn accused Russia, Syria's top arms supplier and staunch ally, of propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. They have also accused Syria's ally Iran of providing military aid to Assad.
The United States, envoys say, saw little point in replacing Annan and has stepped up non-lethal support to the rebels.
Brahimi, 78, has served as a U.N. special envoy in Iraq after the U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, in Afghanistan, both before and after the end of Taliban rule, and in South Africa as it emerged from the apartheid era.
The announcement about Brahimi was made as U.N. observers in Syria prepare to withdraw due to the violence.
Last week Brahimi made clear he wanted an end to the international deadlock on Syria. Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu echoed that on Friday, saying Security Council consensus was needed for Brahimi to succeed.
"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 last week. "World leaders cannot remain divided any longer, over and above their cries."
Separately, Russia canceled a meeting on Friday of the permanent council members and key Middle Eastern nations on Syria, the so-called Syria "Action Group," after most participants failed to confirm attendance, U.N. diplomats said.
"Almost no one confirmed attendance, not the Americans, Europeans, Arabs," one diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "There wasn't much interest in this meeting."
Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin announced plans to hold the meeting on Thursday of Russia, China, the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait and others to agree to "appeal to all the parties of the Syrian conflict that they end the violence as soon as possible."
The meeting in New York was postponed at the request of some of the group's members, a spokesman for the Russian U.N. mission said.
Other diplomats said the meeting of the Action Group was unlikely to take place at all.
Last month the group held a ministerial-level meeting in Geneva, at which participants reiterated their commitment to Annan's six-point peace plan aimed at securing a truce, providing humanitarian aid access and launching talks on a political transition in Syria. Iran and Saudi Arabia were not invited to attend.
Some Arab media had recently claimed that the bank had already been controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and some of Libya's militant movements
The first H5N8 case in Germany was confirmed on Nov. 4 on a poultry farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Some 5,000 birds were infected by the disease, of which 1,880 died.
Filling Tirana's main street, they carried banners protesting against lack of jobs, tax rises and what would amount to a rise of electricity prices next year.
High-speed trains were halted, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage from the quake
Benhabyles said the migrants would be airlifted to the southern province of Tamanrasset before they are asked to cross the border back into Niger
Authorities in Tanzania have ordered the eviction of 40,000 Masai people so their ancestral home can be turned into a hunting ground for Dubai royals.
No new idea or remarkable proposal has come from the world powers’ group, the P5+1, yet during talks over Iran’s nuclear issue, says Iranian minister
Search for missing 4-month-old continues along river in North Sumatra province after parents lose lives
This is the first meeting is to be held between al-Subaihi and Corman since the appointment of the former as defense minister in the current Yemeni government.
Peshmerga spokesman Brigadier General Halgurd Hikmat confirmed that Turkish soldiers had started special forces training with peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq
Barhoum described the accusations leveled against the Qassam Brigades as "false", which – according to him – aim at defaming Hamas and its military wing.
Demonstrators also demanded the expulsion of armed militias from Sanaa, in reference to Shiite Houthi militants who have seized control of the capital in September.
The majority of the deaths, 785, were ISIL fighters according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The bodies of the men from the Albu Fahd tribe were discovered after the army launched a counter-offensive against the ISIL in a village on the eastern edge of Ramadi
His comments stepped up Moscow's war of words with the United States and the European Union in their worst diplomatic standoff since the Cold War ended.
Though murdered revolutionary folk hero Sankara's body was placed in an unmarked grave, it is believed to be buried in a cemetery in the capital Ouagadougou's Dagnoen neighbourhood.