x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi to step down May 31

UN-Arab League envoy tells of sadness at leaving after two-year mission with Syria still in "such a bad state".

Lakhdar Brahimi holds a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva on January 27, 2014. He has announced that he will resign as the joint UN-Arab League on May 31, 2014. Anja Niedringhaus / AP Photo
Lakhdar Brahimi holds a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva on January 27, 2014. He has announced that he will resign as the joint UN-Arab League on May 31, 2014. Anja Niedringhaus / AP Photo

UNITED NATIONS // International Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will step down on May 31 after nearly two years of seeking an end to “the brutal and still worsening” civil war, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday.

For more than a year, Mr Brahimi has made no secret that he is contemplating stepping down from the post as the United Nations and Arab League joint special representative on Syria.

Mr Brahimi was due to brief the UN Security Council later in the day.

“It’s not very pleasant for me. It’s very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state,” Mr Brahimi told reporters after Mr Ban made the announcement.

Mr Ban said he would work on finding someone to replace Mr Brahimi to try to bring an end to the three-year civil war in Syria.

“At this time, I have to think who should be the right person and at what time,” he told reporters.

There are several possible candidates to replace the veteran Algerian diplomat, diplomatic sources have said, among them former Tunisian foreign minister Kamel Morjane.

Mr Brahimi has organised two rounds of negotiations in Geneva between the Syrian president Bashar Al Assad’s government and members of the opposition seeking to oust him.

* Reuters