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Palestinian named Annan deputy to Syria

Former Palestinian foreign minister Nasser al-Qudwa to serve as deputy to international envoy to Syria and ex-UN chief Kofi Annan

AFP , Monday 5 Mar 2012
Newly appointed U.N. -Arab League Envoy on Syria Kofi Annan waves to the media (Photo: Reuters)

The Arab League on Monday named Palestinian diplomat Nasser al-Qudwa to serve as former UN chief Kofi Annan's deputy in his role as international envoy to conflict-stricken Syria.

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said that Qudwa, a former foreign minister, had agreed to take on "this very difficult mission during a critical time for Syria."

Qudwa was selected in consultation with UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Annan, who was named international troubleshooter to Syria on February 23, Arabi said in a statement.

More than 7,500 people have been killed in 11 months of protests against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the United Nations says, and international pressure has been growing for an initiative to end the deadly crackdown.

Annan and Qudwa are to serve under a mandate set out by a UN General Assembly resolution passed last month and Arab League resolutions on the crisis in Syria.

The resolution demands that Syria "cease all violence and protect its population," free everyone detained in connection with the unrest, withdraw troops from urban areas and guarantee freedom of demonstration.

Echoing resolutions passed by the League, it insists on "full and unhindered access and movement" for Arab League monitors and international news media "to determine the truth about the situation on the ground."

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