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Arabs to meet to discuss Annan replacement

Sat August 11, 2012 11:01pm

ARAB ministers are set to meet in Saudi Arabia to mull their next moves on the Syrian conflict and who might succeed UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, a top League official said.

The foreign ministers' meeting in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Sunday will discuss the "latest developments in Syria and what policy action to take" after Annan's announcement on August 2 that he was stepping down, the pan-Arab bloc's deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli said.

They will also discuss a successor for the former UN chief, Ben Helli added.

Diplomats at the United Nations have tipped veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, a former top League official, as the new envoy and France's UN ambassador Gerard Araud said on Friday that a replacement could be named early next week.

But in a statement released on Friday, Brahimi made no mention of the speculation about his nomination, limiting himself to calling for an end to the bitter divisions on the UN Security Council over the Syrian conflict which Annan cited in his resignation announcement.

"The UN Security Council and regional states must unite to ensure that a political transition can take place as soon as possible," the 78-year-old said.

"Millions of Syrians are clamouring for peace. World leaders cannot remain divided any longer, over and above their cries."

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