Seasoned diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi has been named new joint special representative of the United Nations and League of Arab States for the crisis in Syria. Photo by: Mark Garten / U.N.

With Kofi Annan’s impending exit comes another seasoned diplomat: A man who knows the end of the conflict in Syria does not rest solely on his shoulders.

“At the end of the day, it is not the mediator and not the Security Council,” new Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and League of Arab States for the crisis in Syria Lakhdar Brahimi told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday (Aug. 19).

“Peace will be made by the Syrians.”

Brahimi was rumored to replace Kofi Annan following the latter’s announcement that he will resign his post as special envoy to Syria. The United Nations and the Arab League officially named Brahimi as the new envoy Friday (Aug. 17).

Brahimi has taken several diplomatic posts, particularly in the Middle East. He served as U.N. envoy to Afghanistan and Iraq following U.S.-led wars in the two countries, AP reports. He was also Annan’s special adviser on conflict prevention and resolution.

A noteworthy accomplishment is Brahimi’s role in the negotiations that led to the end of the civil war in Lebanon, which lasted some 15 years. But it remains to be seen what he can do or what measures will he be taking to see the end of the 17th-month-old conflict in Syria, his new assignment.

“When I go to New York I will be asking for lots of things,” Brahimi told Reuters in an interview Saturday. He is scheduled to go to the U.N. headquarters Aug. 20 to “officially accept his mission.”

Brahimi does not yet know what kind of plan he will be taking, but he said the U.N. Security Council’s support will be crucial in his mission. Annan has made it known that divisions at the council is one of his reasons for quitting.

“Without a unified voice from the Security Council, I think it will be difficult,” Brahimi told AP.

Several members of the international community have welcomed Brahimi’s appointment, including EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Both leaders have expressed the support of their respective states to Brahimi, but how will this translate at the council?

“The problem is not what I can do differently, it is how others are going to behave differently,” Brahimi said. “I might very well fail but we sometimes are lucky and we can get a breakthrough,” he told BBC.

Brahimi is also set to meet with Arab League chief Nabil el-Araby after his trip to New York.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.