Middle East

EU's Ashton urges UN Security Council to back Brahimi

Catherine Ashton with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and head of Iran's national security council Saeed Jalili (R) before a meeting in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.May 23, 2012.AFP PHOTO/ALI AL-SAADI

BRUSSELS: European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday urged the UN Security Council to provide new UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, "the support he requires."

Ashton, who later this week hosts informal talks in Cyprus with foreign ministers of the 27-nation bloc, spoke with Brahimi on Tuesday, her office said in a statement.

"They discussed the extremely difficult situation in Syria, and the immediate priority to reduce violence," it said.

She reaffirmed the EU's "full support" for his mission and "assured him that he can count on not only her personal commitment but also the EU's assistance to him and his team in this important task of working towards a peaceful political solution to the crisis."

"Close coordination and united diplomatic action by the international community are pre-requisites for his success. The EU calls on the members of the UN Security Council and all parties to provide Mr. Brahimi with the support he requires."

Brahimi said in his first comments to the UN assembly since replacing Kofi Annan as special envoy on Saturday that the death toll in Syria was "staggering". He also called for united efforts on the conflict.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 26,000 people have been killed in Syria since the revolt began 17 months ago -- more than two thirds of them civilians. The figures are impossible to verify.





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