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Algerian Brahimi to replace Annan as Syria envoy

United Nations, Aug 10 (): Veteran Algerian foreign affairs minister and U.N. official Lakhdar Brahimi is expected to replace Kofi Annan as the U.N.-Arab League joint special envoy for Syria, diplomats said on Thursday.

The other contenders are Spain’s Javier Solana, a former NATO chief and European Union foreign policy head and ex-Spanish foreign affairs minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

Brahimi, 78, has a long history as a political trouble shooter and now may be appointed as the new UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is using his security forces and trying to crush a 17-month-old pro-democracy rebellion.

Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a former U.N. secretary-general, declared last week he would step down as the special envoy because he was unable to do his job with the U.N. Security Council hopelessly deadlocked over Syria.

Before stepping down Kofi Annan said because of the growing militarisation of the conflict in Syria, as well as the continuing deadlock over the issue in the UN Security Council he was unable to fulfil his role.

A six-point peace plan planned by Annan failed and violence has intensified. Rebels have lost the key area of Aleppo on Thursday after weeks of fighting.

Annan and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have made it clear that they believe divisions among the major powers on the UN Security Council undermined the Annan plan.

Brahimi was Algerian foreign minister from 1991 to 1993, and he helped end Lebanon’s civil war in the late 1980s as an Arab League envoy.

He has before served as a U.N. special envoy in many challenging circumstances, including in Afghanistan both before and after the end of Taliban rule and in Iraq after the U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. As U.N. special representative in South Africa, he helped oversee democratic elections that brought Mandela to power.

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