Moroccan diplomat 'leading candidate' to succeed Brahimi as Syria envoy

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A Canadian national of Moroccan origin, Mokhtar Lamani, is just one of the 'leading candidates' that may succeed Lakhdar Brahimi as the Arab League Syria envoy, according to Talal Al-Haj, Al Arabiya’s New York bureau chief.

Lamani is currently heading Brahimi’s Damascus office, serving as the UN-Arab League representative in the country.

Lamani has also worked as a special Arab League envoy to Iraq and was the Organization of the Islamic Conference's ambassador to the U.N. in New York from 1998 to 2002.

Earlier today, diplomatic sources told Al Arabiya that Brahimi intented to resign.

Brahimi informed U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League head Nabil al-Arabi, according to those sources.

This development comes during a week full of developments at the United Nations on the Syrian conflict.

Brahimi will not announce his resignation until Arabi arrives in New York next Monday.

Then, Brahimi, Arabi and Ban Ki-moon will hold a tripartite meeting to specify how to deal with this resignation.

On the other hand, there were reports that Brahimi hopes to revamp his role as an international peace mediator in the Syrian conflict as a United Nations envoy without any official link to the Arab bloc, U.N. diplomats told Reuters on Tuesday.

Brahimi has become increasingly frustrated with the league’s moves to recognize the Syrian opposition, which he feels has undermined his role as a neutral mediator, diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

“The joint special representative feels that the Arab League approach makes it difficult for him to carry out his mandate,” a diplomat said.

“He feels that it would be best to be associated only with the United Nations at this point to ensure his neutrality.”

Another U.N. diplomat confirmed the remarks. There have been rumors circulating for weeks that Brahimi might resign, though diplomats said his preference was to remain involved in Syrian peace efforts through the United Nations, an organization he has worked with for decades.

(This article previously indicated that Mokhtar Lamani will succeed Lakhdar Brahimi as the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria. This was due to an incorrect translation of a report that came from Al Arabiya’s New York bureau chief, Talal Al-Haj)

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