Brahimi urges UN action on Syria stalemate

UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Friday urged the Security Council to come together to address the conflict in Syria, as speculation swirled about his future as mediator.

Brahimi told the 15-member council that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is "not in a mood for dialogue" and that the only hope for stemming the violence is if the council agrees unanimously on a plan of action, diplomats told AFP.

The Security Council has been divided about how to proceed on Syria, which has been wracked by fighting since March 2011, with Russia and China repeatedly blocking efforts by the West to step up pressure on Damascus.

Brahimi made his remarks amid rumors that he could resign after seven months of failed efforts to end the violence which has left tens of thousands of people dead.

The veteran Algerian diplomat, who in the past has insisted he would not quit his post, was expected to meet with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi early next week.

A UN diplomat said he hoped Brahimi would remain, adding that "from our point of view he is useful."

"He may be frustrated, but he symbolizes the possibility of a political settlement," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity. "We hope he will stay and we will encourage him to do that."

Assad's regime has criticized Brahimi -- who has held the post since September 2012 -- and rumors have circulated that the envoy might resign entirely or at least drop his affiliation with the Arab League.

Ban has refused to comment on whether Brahimi might resign, but said this week there was "no such consideration" of making him a purely UN envoy, adding that Brahimi "has been and will continue to work as a joint representative."

Diplomatic efforts by Brahimi and his predecessor -- former UN secretary general Kofi Annan -- have failed to halt the fighting in Syria, which has claimed more than 70,000 lives since early 2011, according to UN figures.

Ban said earlier this week that a fact-finding mission was prepared to travel to Syria to investigate accusations about the use of chemical weapons in the conflict but had not received permission to enter from the government.