New UN Syria envoy: Diplomatic solution 'nearly impossible'

Lakhdar Brahimi, the new international mediator for Syria's conflict, said searching for a solution was like "standing in front of a brick wall."

REUTERS/J.C. McIlwaine/UN Photo/Handout
Lakhdar Brahimi (L), newly-appointed Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria meets with United Nation's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York in this handout photo supplied by the United Nations in August.

Diplomatic attempts to end the Syrian conflict are "nearly impossible" and not enough is being done to end the fighting, the new United Nations 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," Mr. 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 UN 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 al-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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