New U.N.-Arab League envoy on Syria mission Lakhdar Brahimi has reiterated his commitment to serve the interests of the Syrian people while engaging in efforts aimed at resolving the ongoing crisis in that Middle East nation.
"I do know it is a very difficult task, but I believe it is not my right to refuse and to try my best to give as much help as possible to the Syrian people," Brahimi told reporters in the Egyptian capital Cairo after holding talks with Arab League officials on Monday.
"As I said in New York, I reiterate that while performing my job, I will be in the service of the Syrian people alone and I will not have any master but the Syrian people," he said.
Brahimi made the remarks ahead of his forthcoming trip to Syria to meet with Syrian officials as well as representatives from civil society. That visit would mark the beginning of his efforts aimed at initiating a Syrian-led political process leading to a political transition that would ensure respect for the legitimate aspiration of Syrians, and enable them democratically to determine their future.
Brahimi had earlier served as U.N. special envoy in Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, in Afghanistan after the 9\11 attacks as well as the end of Taliban rule and in South Africa as it emerged from the apartheid era. He has also served with the Arab League from 1984 to 1991 as an Algerian diplomat.
He took over as the new envoy to Syria from former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who declined to continue on the expiry of his mandate on August 1 because of increasing militarization of the Syrian conflict as well as the lack of unity among members of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) in resolving the crisis.
In his first address to the U.N. General Assembly after assuming the post at the beginning of this month, Brahimi had warned of steadily deteriorating situation in Syria, noting that the destruction and humanitarian sufferings caused by the ongoing conflict reached "staggering" levels.
Brahimi also urged all U.N. member-states to unite in resolving the Syrian crisis and sought their full backing when he travels to Syria as part of his efforts aimed at halting violence. Emphasizing that the future of Syria "will be built by its own people and none other," the envoy noted that international support was indispensable and "very urgent" for achieving that goal.
Addressing the same U.N. General Assembly session ahead of Brahimi, Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon appealed to member-states to provide strong and unified support to the new emissary as he takes up a "difficult and essential" mission amid an intensifying conflict that shows no sign of abating.
Currently, fierce fighting raged in Syria between government forces and armed rebels opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, are believed to have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced since the revolt began in March 2011. The conflict is now viewed as a civil war by most of the international community.
In addition to those trapped inside Syria, the conflict has forced hundreds of thousands of Syrians to seek refuge in neighboring Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan. The conflict is now threatening to spill over to neighboring nations and is increasingly becoming sectarian in nature.
by RTT Staff Writer
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