De Mistura named as new UN mediator on Syria crisis

De Mistura named as new UN mediator on Syria crisis
# 10 July 2014 22:02 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. UN chief Ban Ki-moon Thursday named veteran UN official Staffan de Mistura as new UN mediator on Syria crisis to succeed former UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Staffan de Mistura as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria," Ban said at a press conference.

The decision was made after broadly consultations, including with the Syrian authorities, he said.

De Mistura will "provide good offices aimed at bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations, and promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis," the UN chief added.

However, De Mistura will not be the joint envoy of the UN and the Arab League as his predecessor.

Ban also named Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, former deputy Egyptian foreign minister, as De Mistura's deputy. Ramzy was recommended by the Arab League and will work together with De Mistura, said Ban, stressing that the two organizations are still working closely on the Syrian issue.

The new envoy will consult broadly and engage with all relevant interlocutors within and outside Syria to achieve his mission, said Ban, calling on the international community, including the UN Security Council and the Syrian parties, to give De Mistura " unified support."

"This responsibility of the Special Envoy for anybody, starting from Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi and Staffan De Mistura, will require very skillful, skilled diplomatic efforts," Ban said.

Ban thanked Brahimi "for his concerted efforts and contributions to the search for peace in Syria."

Brahimi resigned from the post of UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria in May. The former Algerian managed to organize two rounds of negotiations in Geneva between the Syrian government and members of the opposition earlier this year, yet the peace talks produced little result.

The conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, has led to over 150,000 deaths, and more than 680,000 people injured.

The United Nations says that 10.8 million Syrians, nearly half of Syria's population of 22 million, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Among the needed, 6.6 million are children. At present, 2.9 million Syrian refugees seek shelter in neighboring countries, such as Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.

De Mistura, former deputy Italian foreign minister, is one of the UN's most seasoned diplomats. He has over three decades of experience with the United Nations in conflict-affected areas including Somalia, the Middle East, the Balkans, Nepal and Afghanistan.

Born in Stockholm in 1947, De Mistura is a dual citizen of Italy and Sweden and speaks Swedish, Italian, English, French, German and Spanish. He also masters Arabic colloquially, said the UN.

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