Ban Ki-moon urges support for new Syria envoy

Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Lakhdar Brahimi
New joint UN-Arab League envoy for Syria
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
New York: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to member states to provide strong and unified support to the new Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, as he takes up a "difficult and essential" mission amid an intensifying conflict that shows no sign of abating.

Expressing his deep concern regarding the humanitarian situation in the country and noting that UN agencies will need to expand their presence in Syria, Ban said the organization was "constrained by underfunding", with the $180 million dollar Humanitarian Response Plan "only half-funded".

More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began nearly 18 months ago. Amidst reports of an escalation in violence in recent weeks in many towns and villages, as well as the country's two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, UN agencies now estimate that some 2.5 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

Ban emphasized that regional leaders had a role to play "in creating conditions conducive to a solution" to the Syrian conflict. He called on the Security Council and the General Assembly to find common ground, "so we can help the Syrian people to start charting a way towards an inclusive, peaceful and democratic political transition that will be decided by Syrians themselves." 

The new special representative Lakhdar Brahimi told delegates at the meeting that "the future of Syria will be built by its own people and none other". He said the support of the international community was "indispensable and very urgent", and added that "it will only be effective if all pull in the same direction".

Brahimi, an Algerian national who has served the UN in various high-level roles over the past two decades, assumed the peace-facilitation role which had been carried out since February by a former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, with the aim of bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations in Syria, and promoting a peaceful solution to the conflict. Annan's mandate ended on 31 August. -Unifeed
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