Lakhdar Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister and long-time UN diplomat, has agreed to replace former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as peace envoy to Syria, the United Nations has announced.
Brahimi, who served as a UN envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq, formally accepted the post and will resume efforts for a diplomatic solution to Syria’s crisis, said Eduardo del Buey, deputy spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
“The violence and the suffering in Syria must come to an end,” Mr del Buey said. “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.”
Mr Annan announced earlier this month that he would resign on August 31 as joint UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, after failing to broker a ceasefire as the country descended into civil war. The UN says at least 18,000 people have been killed since March 2011.
Mr Brahimi, 78, who emerged last week as the leading candidate to replace Mr Annan, brings a long record of working in the Arab and Islamic world. He served as Algeria’s foreign minister from 1991-93 and joined the United Nations in 1994, where he served in a variety of high-profile posts until he retired in 2005.
As an Arab League envoy, he helped negotiate the end of Lebanon’s civil war.
Mr Annan said when he announced his resignation on August 2 that the Security Council’s divisions prevented the united approach needed to stop the fighting in Syria. Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block strong Western- and Arab-backed action against President Bashar Assad’s regime.