New York: The United Nations on Friday announced the appointment of former Algerian foreign minister Lakhdar Brahimi as the Joint Special Representative for Syria, a post from which former UN secretary general Kofi Annan had resigned after his efforts to restore peace in Syria failed.
"The violence and the suffering in Syria must come to an end. Secretary-General (Ban Ki-moon) appreciates 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 (UN) Security Council," Ban's deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey said.
78-year-old Brahimi has vast experience as a conflict troubleshooter.
The veteran diplomat had served as the UN special representative for Afghanistan and Iraq. Before his appointment in 2001 by then secretary general Annan, he had served the UN as special representative to Haiti and to South Africa.
Buey said diplomacy to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria remains a top priority for the United Nations.
"More fighting and militarisation 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.
Ban reiterated his deepest gratitude to Annan for his selfless efforts and contributions to the search for peace in Syria.
Earlier this month, Annan announced he would resign from his post as the UN-Arab League joint international envoy for Syria after efforts by him to implement a peace plan and end the conflict in the troubled nation failed. Annan's mandate would expire on August 31.
Annan had assumed his post in February and had proposed a six point peace plan that called for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, the start of inclusive political dialogue, and unrestricted access to the country for the international media.
The UN Security Council yesterday decided that the UN observer mission in Syria will be terminated on Sunday as efforts towards a ceasefire failed amid escalating violence.
A liaison office would be set up to support efforts for a political solution to the conflict.
As fighting rages on in Syria, the Council agreed that conditions have not been met to continue the UN mission. An estimated 17,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began about 17 months ago.
In the previous two weeks, there have been reports of an escalation in violence in many towns and villages, as well as the country’s two biggest cities, Initially set up in April for 90 days, the UN mission's mandate was extended for another 30 days in late July by a UNSC resolution which indicated that further renewals to mission's mandate would be possible only if it could be confirmed that the use of heavy weapons had ceased and a reduction in violence by all sides was sufficient to allow the mission to implement its mandate.
With the 30-day extension, the mission's mandate is set to expire on Sunday.
First Published: Friday, August 17, 2012, 21:50