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Algerian Diplomat To Replace Annan As New UN Syria Envoy

Lakhdar Brahimi has worked in several high-profile positions at the UN.
The United Nations says that Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi will take over from Kofi Annan as joint UN-Arab League envoy to Syria.

UN deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey made the announcement at the UN headquarters in New York.

The 78-year-old Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister, has worked in several high-profile positions at the UN, gaining a reputation as a tough, independent negotiator as envoy to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Haiti. Brahimi also helped negotiate an end to Lebanon's civil war.

Del Buey said Brahimi had the right credentials for the job.

"The violence and the suffering in Syria must come to an end," del Buey said.

"The secretary-general appreciates Mr. Brahimi's willingness to bring his considerable talents and experience to this crucial task for which he will need, and rightly expects, a strong, clear, and unified support of the international community, including the [UN] Security Council. "

Brahimi's appointment comes after Annan announced his resignation earlier this month after failing to achieve a temporary cease-fire during his six-month tenure. The UN has said at least 18,000 people have been killed since March 2011.

On August 16, the UN Security Council announced it would end the UN military observer mission in Syria, but said a civilian liaison office would remain in Damascus.

Moscow Calls Off Meeting

Meanwhile, Russia called off a meeting planned for August 17 of an international action group on the Syria conflict after Western countries revealed they would not attend.

Russia said the meeting at the UN headquarters in New York on August 17 had been postponed. Russian officials did not say whether a new date for the meeting would be set.

Russia expected the meeting to adopt a statement, which would set a cease-fire deadline for the Syrian government and opposition to halt the violence.

The move comes after U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on August 16 she did not see the point of the meeting.

Russia, as well as China, has vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions on Syria which condemned President Bashar al-Assad's actions and threatened sanctions.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters
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