World powers welcome Lakhdar Brahimi as new UN envoy

Lakhdar Brahimi (June 2012) Mr Brahimi is considered to have a formidable reputation at the UN

World powers have hailed the appointment of veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi as the new UN-Arab League envoy for Syria.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington was ready to support Mr Brahimi, and Russia said it was ready for "close interaction".

Syrian Vice-President Farouq al-Shara is quoted as welcoming the appointment.

The 78-year-old succeeds Kofi Annan who resigned this month as his peace plan had failed to achieve a real ceasefire.

Meanwhile Syrian forces have launched new air and artillery strikes on rebel-held areas, in particular in the northern city of Aleppo, the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Fighting was also reported in various areas of the city. Homs in central Syria and Herak and Deraa in the south were subjected to bombardment, the Observatory added.

Syria's state-run media said that government troops in Aleppo had repulsed attacks by rebel forces near the airport on Friday.

'Ceasefire need'

Mrs Clinton said Mr Brahimi "will continue the pursuit of an end to the conflict and a peaceful transition in Syria".

"My message to special envoy Brahimi is simple: The United States stands ready to support you and secure a lasting peace that upholds the legitimate aspirations for a representative government of the people of Syria," she said.

Russia said it was "ready for close interaction with the new special representative ... with the aim of overcoming the crisis in Syria".

But its Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov was quoted by Russian media as saying that Mr Brahimi's efforts would be ineffective without a ceasefire.

"Political dialogue will not start, at least these efforts will not lead to a final result if violence does not cease. And that does not depend on Brahimi," he said.

The European Union also offered its full support, and China promised to "co-operate positively" with Mr Brahimi.

And in Syria, itself, Mr Shara's spokesman told the BBC he had welcomed the appointment and supported Mr Brahimi's insistence on obtaining a unified position in the UN Security Council.

Abdul Salam Hijab also denied recent rumours that Mr Shara, the most senior Sunni Muslim in the Damascus regime, had defected to the opposition and left the country.

Mr Brahimi, whose appointment came a day after the UN called an end to its military observer mission, has held a long series of high-profile diplomatic posts, notably as the UN's top envoy in Afghanistan in 1996-8 and 2001-4.

Analysts say he has a formidable reputation at the UN but is also seen as independent of the major powers.

Announcing his resignation earlier this month, Mr Annan had said he was unable to fulfil his role because of the growing militarisation of the conflict, as well as deadlock in the UN Security Council.

Russia and China have vetoed resolutions on the crisis three times, citing their opposition to any action which might be seen as regime change imposed from outside.

Co-operation from the Syrians was essential in order to find a peaceful resolution, Mr Brahimi told the BBC.

But he also insisted diplomatic efforts should not be abandoned.

"I might very well fail but we sometimes are lucky and we can get a breakthrough," he said.

Activists estimate about 20,000 people have died since anti-government protests erupted against the Assad regime in March last year. Tens of thousands of people have also fled the country.


More on This Story

Syria's war War in Syria


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Mr Brahimi has no chance of achieving anything worthwhile.
    The US & Israeli govts, in complicity with the govts of every major EU nation, want Iran.
    A puppet govt in Syria is a stepping stone to that end.
    Russia & China don't want that.
    But be assured people, the reason or all this will be nothing to do with anything good.
    How many killed already? People are cattle to the wealthy psychopaths!

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    at last someone who is a real player and not a Muppet oops i mean puppet

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    The level of ignorance on this issue is staggering. And the degree to which some posters have soaked up the corporate media's rhetoric on it dismays me.
    As well meaning as I'm sure #53 is, & I share the indignation at the senseless murder, our govt is just as culpable.
    Ask yourself, why no reporting on Bahrain? Now THERE is a people's uprising & unbelievable, unreported, oppressive brutality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    There are now:
    • Over 20,000 dead
    • Over 150,000 refugees who have left Syria
    • Over 1,000,000 displaced citizens


    Look around, people who were once with you are leaving you because they know eventually you will lose and have to leave.

    Leave NOW before more Syrians suffer needlessly due to your actions.


    Citizen of the World

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Freedom-loving countries should provide the Free Syrian Army with the arms to defend themselves. A well-armed Free Syrian Army would make short shrift of Assad's homicidal army, demolish Assad's kakistocracy and put an end to Syria's nightmare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Re 48: Well said. Syria is not now, and never has been anything to do with the UK. I cannot fathom why a UK govt is supporting either side in this conflict. It simply has nothing to do with us. France on the other hand, has plenty to answer for in Syria (and Lebanon for that matter). It was French actions before, during, and after, WW2 that laid the groundwork for the present conflict.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Give the man a tin hat, a white flag and a chocolate fireguard.

    Without a serious mandate, this is useless.

    Shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    A new envoy to Syria is a waste of time. The UN Security Council should pass a resolution, with Chapter 7 powers, compelling Assad to immediately stop slaughtering Syrians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    To be quite honest, from what I have seen, the rebels and Assad are as bad as each other.

    I would let them get on with it and with luck, they will destroy each other.

    I cannot believe the UK Gov chose to give 5 million quid to militants.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    One of Russia's concerns is the Naval facility at Tartus. It allows ships to operate in the Eastern Mediterranean, and to replenish on the way to other more distant areas.

    Another is the 20-30 Thousand Russians in Syria.

    So can understand Russia's interest, but what's China's Angle?

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    The Arab League & the UN are puppets on the end of a string held by Russia, China & Iran
    They will not allow Assad to be deposed by any international group because the tide can turn on them
    The thousands of dead do not matter to any of them
    Arms sales are what counts
    Staying in power
    Nothing will change unless The Arab League grows some & starts pushing the surrounding nations to send in troops

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    We don't hear from Syrian civilians.Why?

    Orig Syrian protestors fled for their lives from Rebels and Fgn Mercenaries paid for,trained and armed by CIA, Saudis & Arab sunni monarchs.They were documented by German Journalists stopping buses and beheading any who refused to join them.Massacre of Houla was committed against sunnis who refused to fight.Pics were 2003 Iraq.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    @ #36 Christopher Lord

    You seem think Kofi Annan was a power unto himself he only presented what the members of the UN Security Council permitted him to propose to Assad. Remember the UN General Assembly gave a vote of condemnation of the Security Council's actions and inactions. Annan was a helpess puppet just as Brahimi is. How many divisions does Brahimi have to paraphrase Stalin's remark?

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Events in Syria are misreported and those doing so know it.
    This is a power struggle between Assad's regime and a western-funded Islamic movement that wants power.
    It is not a popular people's uprising, as it's portrayed.
    It is, IMO, a cynical diplomatic move to isolate Iran. Russia & China know this.
    There are no good guys in this. Just cynical, power-hungry, psychopaths.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    So, another political nobody is to poke around a civil war that is nothing to do with anybody outside of Syria. I fail to see how this war has anything to do with the UK, beyond an academic view.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    This is useless the world 'powers' will use and abuse the new envoy just as they did the last one. Brahimi is a castrated emissary of the UN who will offer the same things as Annan did and will get nowhere as before. Assad wants to stall, Russia wants to stall, the UN is toothless by design, the US mouths support for the rebels but will not provide arms & Israel likes Assad as a known quantity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Cameron stop being the puppet of the USA stop giving my hard earned taxes to a lost case. Who cares who is negotiating the battle is between USA and Russia in someone else s country as normal

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    That's what you get for being the slowest person in the stampede for the door when the vacancy was announced.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    To keep sending envoys into Syria is like reoeatedly sending Chamberlain to see Hitler. Putin has no moral authority and should be ignored.

    Send a few planes in, stop propping up this evil man.


Page 1 of 3


More Middle East stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.