UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon on Friday announced the appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat, as the new joint special representative of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria to replace Kofi Annan.
"The secretary-general of the United Nations is pleased, along with Secretary-general Nabil Elaraby of the League of Arab States, to announce the appointment today of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi as their Joint Special Representative for Syria," said a statement released to the press here.
Brahimi, 78, was Algeria's foreign minister from 1991 to 1993 and joined in 1994 the United Nations, where he served in a variety of high-profile posts until he retired in 2005.
"The violence and the suffering in Syria must come to an end," said the statement. "The secretary-general appreciates Mr. Brahimi 's willingness to bring his considerable talents and experience to this crucial task for which he will need, and rightly expects the strong, clear and unified support of the international community, including the Security Council."
In the statement, the UN chief stressed that diplomacy to promote a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria remains a top priority for the United Nations, saying that more fighting and militarization will only exacerbate the suffering and make more difficult the path to a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
Ban also reiterated his "deepest gratitude" to Annan for the former UN secretary-general's selfless efforts and contributions to the search for peace in Syria.
The Brahimi appointment was announced a day after the UN Security Council agreed to the establishment of a new political liaison office in the Syrian capital Damascus. The office is expected to back the mediation efforts by the UN and the Arab League.
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Feb. 16 demanding the heads of the UN and the Arab League to appoint a special envoy for Syria, a country which has been troubled by prolonged tension and violence between anti-government protesters and rebels and the forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Ban and Elaraby jointly announced the appointment of Annan as the two organizations' joint special envoy on the Syrian crisis on Feb. 23.
However, Annan has informed Ban and Elaraby of his intention not to renew his mandate when it expires on Aug. 31.
Brahimi, who had served as a UN envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq, emerged last week as the leading candidate to replace Annan.
The former Algerian foreign minister also has a long record of working in the Arab and Islamic world. From 1984 to 1991, he was under-secretary-general of the Arab League, and from 1989 to 1991, he served as the Arab League's special envoy to Lebanon, mediating the end of a civil war in that country.