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UN chief reiterates support for new Syria envoy

08-25-2012 04:55 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moonon Friday reiterated his support for Lakhdar Brahimi, the new UN-Arab Leaguejoint special representative for Syriawho will assume his position on Sept. 1.

The secretary-general on Friday met with Brahimi, the former Algerian foreign minister, at the UN Headquarters in New York. Brahimi was appointed last week to replace Kofi Annan, who would step down at the end of this month as the international mediator on the 18-month Syrian crisis.

During the meeting, Ban said that Brahimi could count on the full backing of the international community when he assumes his position.

"You have all the respect and full support of the international community," Ban told the new special envoy. "It is crucially important that the Security Council and all the United Nations systems support your role."

Starting next month, Brahimi will be fully engaged in good offices on Syria on behalf of the United Nations and the Arab League. Earlier this week, the United Nations said that Brahimi would be based in New York.

Syria has been plunged into a political crisis since March 2011, with more than 17,000 people, mostly civilians, reportedly killed so far. Recently there have been reports of an escalation in violence in many Syrian towns and villages, as well as the country 's two largest cities -- Damascus and Aleppo.

Speaking before the Friday meeting, Ban said that Brahimi has a very important and crucial task to bring peace and stability back to Syria, and to promote human rights there. He also praised Brahimi's talent and expertise on regional affairs.

"The longer this fighting goes on the more people will be killed, the more people will suffer. In that regard, your contribution, your leadership, will be very important," Ban said.

"You are no stranger to the United Nations," Ban told Brahimi. "You have such wide respect not only from the United Nations staff, but of all the international community."

Brahimi has served the UN in various positions over the past two decades, including head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan(UNAMA), and chair of an independent panel on peacekeeping operations, which released its keynote findings -- known as the "Brahimi Report" -- in 2000.

Brahimi also served with the League of Arab States from 1984 to 1991 as an Algerian diplomat.

During their meeting, Brahimi thanked the secretary-general for giving him the opportunity to serve the Syrian people. He stressed that the Syrian people would be his "first masters," and that he would consider their interests first and foremost.

Annan, the former UN secretary-general, announced his resignation as the Syria envoy after a six-point peace plan he proposed failed to bring an end to the Syrian conflict.

The peace plan calls for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from population centers, a daily halt in fighting for the delivery of humanitarian aid and treatment for the wounded, as well as talks between the government and the opposition for a Syrian-led political settlement.

The Annan plan and a plan of action agreed by major world powers at a Geneva meeting in late June are still the basis for any possible political solution to the Syrian crisis, UN officials have said.

"That peace plan remains intact," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here on Friday, adding that the Annan plan and the Geneva action plan are "building blocks for Mr. Brahimi to use."

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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