BREAKING NEWS

UN: Syria peace mediator Brahimi to stay through 2013

UNITED NATIONS - UN-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will continue his bid to broker peace in war-torn Syria until at least the end of the year, the United Nations said on Thursday.
The veteran Algerian diplomat took up the role in September when he replaced former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Annan blamed a Security Council impasse for hampering his six-month bid to broker peace and leading to his decision to step down.
The Security Council has been deadlocked since 2011 over Russia and China's refusal to consider sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. They have vetoed three resolutions condemning Assad's attempts to crush what began two years ago as peaceful protests inspired by other Arab Spring uprisings.
The United Nations says almost 70,000 people have been killed during the revolt against Assad, which turned violent after Assad's forces tried to crush the demonstrations.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said on Thursday that Brahimi's contract had been extended until the end of the year, along with the contracts of his deputy, Nasser al-Kidwa, and the head of his Damascus office, Mokhtar Lamani.
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