The UN and Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has embarked on his mission by holding talks with the Arab bloc's officials in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Brahimi, who replaced Kofi Annan, arrived in Cairo late on Sunday and is scheduled to meet with Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi, Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr and Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi on Monday.
Brahimi is due to leave Cairo for the Syrian capital to meet with President Bashar al-Assad on the second leg of his trip.Annan, the former Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the Arab League on the Syrian crisis, announced on August 2 that he was quitting because of the lack of international support for his peace plan. On August 17, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Brahimi as the new joint special representative of the UN and the Arab League for Syria to replace Annan. Brahimi, who was Algeria's foreign minister from 1991 to 1993, also served as the UN envoy in Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and in Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion. Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are behind the unrest while the opposition accuses the security forces of killing protesters. The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the insurgents are foreign nationals. DB/MA/HJL