UN's deputy Syria mediator steps down

U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi attends the annual Munich Security Conference on Jan 31, 2014. The deputy to the United Nations' Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will leave his post this week, the UN said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi attends the annual Munich Security Conference on Jan 31, 2014. The deputy to the United Nations' Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will leave his post this week, the UN said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) - The deputy to the United Nations' Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will leave his post this week, the UN said on Monday.

The UN did not specify the reason for Mr Nasser al-Kidwa's prompt departure, but said that he had indicated "his willingness to serve the United Nations in other capacities." UN chief Ban Ki Moon thanked Mr Kidwa for his efforts "in trying to end the bloodshed in Syria and move toward a Syrian-led transition," according to a statement by Mr Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky.

The nephew of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Mr Kidwa was nominated to the job in August 2012 at the same time as Mr Brahimi, having served his predecessor Kofi Annan as well.

Mr Kidwa was in charge of contact with the Syrian opposition, in particular, but diplomats say that he was criticized by the government in Damascus, which repeatedly denied him a visa.

Mr Ban "expressed his appreciation" to Mr Kidwa for his service under both Mr Brahimi and Mr Annan, the statement said Asked if Mr Kidwa will be replaced, Mr Nesirky said: "Discussions are still going on about that... Stay tuned."