UNITED NATIONS — The man tipped to replace Kofi Annan as the UN-Arab League mediator on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi of Algeria, urged world leaders to overcome their differences on the 17-month-old conflict that is slipping deeper into full-scale civil war.
“The UN Security Council and regional states must unite to ensure that a political transition can take place as soon as possible,” Brahimi said in a statement published on the website of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders committed to peace and human rights.
“Millions of Syrians are clamoring for peace,” Brahimi said. “World leaders cannot remain divided any longer, over and above their cries.”
It is Brahimi’s first public statement on Syria since diplomats said Thursday that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was expected to name the veteran Algerian diplomat as early as next week to replace Annan, barring a last-minute change or cold feet on Brahimi’s part.
UN diplomats said Brahimi has told Ban and Arab League chief Nabil Al-Araby that his condition for accepting the job was that he receive “strong support” from the Security Council.
Brahimi, 78, has served as a UN special envoy in a series of challenging circumstances, including in Iraq after the US 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.
French UN Ambassador Gerard Araud, president of the Security Council this month, saidBan was expected to make an announcement Monday or Tuesday. — Reuters