Brahimi looking for fresh start as UN-Syria envoy

Published April 17th, 2013 - 08:24 GMT
Lakhdar Brahimi with Syrian opposition leader Moaz Al-Khatib at the Arab League Doha summit in March
Lakhdar Brahimi with Syrian opposition leader Moaz Al-Khatib at the Arab League Doha summit in March

The UN-Arab League peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi hopes to reset his role as a mediator in the Syrian conflict without official ties to the Arab League, UN diplomats told Reuters on Tuesday.

Brahimi has grown disillusioned with the Arab bloc after it officially recognized the Syrian opposition at an Arab League meeting earlier this month, making it difficult for him to remain neutral in his role as mediator. The diplomats spoke to the news agency on condition of anonymity .

"The joint special representative feels that the Arab League approach makes it difficult for him to carry out his mandate," a diplomat said.

"He feels that it would be best to be associated only with the United Nations at this point to ensure his neutrality."

Rumours of Brahimi's dissatisfaction have been circulating for many weeks, but the diplomats told Reuters that The Algerian envoy is keen to carry on working on the UN peace effort in Syria.

The Arab League suspended Syria from the bloc in November 2011, accusing Bashar Al-Assad's government of a violent crackdown on peaceful protestors. In March they invited Syrian opposition figures Moaz Al-Khatib and Ghassan Hitto to attend a Doha summit.

In a further diplomatic blow to Syria's embattled President Assad, the Syrian National Coalition opened an embassy in the Qatari capital last month.

The moves have irked Brahimi and complicated his position as a joint representative for the UN and Arab League. He's due to present an update on the situation in the war-torn country to the UN Security Council on Friday. The organization reported in February that at least 70,000 people had died in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011.


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