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Kofi Annan named UN-Arab League envoy to Syria

Former UN chief Kofi Annan appointed new joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria By The Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) ' Former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan has been appointed as the joint United Nations-Arab League envoy on the Syrian crisis.

Annan's successor, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil ElAraby announced the appointment Thursday evening.

The announcement said Annan "will provide good offices aimed at bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations, and promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis."

It said he will engage with parties inside and outside Syria to end the violence and the humanitarian crisis "and facilitate a peaceful Syrian-led and inclusive political solution that meets the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) ' United Nations diplomats say former secretary-general Kofi Annan is the leading candidate to be the new U.N. envoy to Syria.

The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because discussions have been private. They say Annan's successor, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is likely to announce his choice Friday to coincide with a major international conference on Syria in Tunisia's capital.

Diplomats said Thursday that Ban couldn't find a high-level Arab acceptable to both sides and turned to Annan and former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari. Both are veteran mediators ' Annan in Kenya and Ahtisaari in Kosovo ' and both are Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Diplomats said the new envoy will have a difficult mandate ' trying to end the violence and arrange a political transition.

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