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Middle East

Syria mission "nearly impossible": U.N. envoy

The Algerian diplomat told Ban Ki-moon that he was "honored, flattered, humbled and scared" at the prospect of leading international efforts to broker peace in Syria's worsening 17-month conflict. REUTERS/J.C. McIlwaine/UN Photo/Handout

AMMAN: Diplomatic attempts to end the Syrian conflict are "nearly impossible" and not enough is being done to end the fighting, the new U.N. and Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said in a BBC interview broadcast on Monday.

"I know how difficult it is - how nearly impossible. I can't say impossible - nearly impossible," Brahimi, an Algerian diplomat, told the BBC. "And we are not doing much. That in itself is a terrible weight."

Brahimi replaced Kofi Annan as the United Nations and Arab League joint special representative on Syria at the end of August. Annan stepped down after blaming "finger-pointing and name-calling" at the U.N. Security Council for hampering efforts to find a breakthrough in the conflict.

Around 20,000 people have been killed during a 17-month uprising against Syria's President Bashar Assad.

Brahimi said he was "scared of the weight of responsibility" on his shoulders and was aware that not enough is being done to end the violence through diplomacy.

"People are already saying 'People are dying and what are you doing?' And we are not doing much. That in itself is a terrible weight," he told the BBC in an interview conducted in English.

Brahimi said he felt like he was "standing in front of a brick wall", looking for cracks that may yield a solution.

"I'm coming into this job with my eyes open, and (with) no illusions," he said.

 

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