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Iran says Syria UN peace envoy is planning trip to Tehran

New UN peace envoy reportedly interested in visiting longtime Syria ally Iran.

Lakhdar brahimi syria security councilEnlarge
Diplomat and former foreign minister of Algeria Lakhdar Brahimi speaks during a joint press conference with former US president Jimmy Carter following a meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum on May 27, 2012. (ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran's Press TV today said the UN-Arab League's Syria peace envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, will visit Tehran after his planned trip to Syria. 

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi reportedly discussed the visit with Brahimi, who is in Cairo holding talks with the Arab League today, on the phone on Saturday.

Press TV said Salehi promised to help the new peace envoy in renewed efforts to address the crisis in Syria. 

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International efforts to end the conflict there, where over a year of fighting has taken some 23,000 lives, fell apart with the resignation of former peace envoy Kofi Annan early last month. 

Many Western countries have openly called on Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power in the face of an armed rebellion against his rule, but international consensus on the issue has been decidedly lacking.

The Iranian foreign minister told Brahimi Tehran is interested in helping Syria itself find a solution to the problem and not involving other countries in the affair, said Kuwait News Agency

Iran is a longstanding ally of the embattled Syrian leader and Tehran is suspected of assisting regime forces there.

Brahimi, who was appointed to the position August 17, is making his first visit to the Middle East since taking on the mediating role. 

He told BBC's Lyse Doucet that he wants to be based out of Damascus or Cairo but was not optimistic about being able to resolve the Syrian issue in a way that will satisfy all members of the international community, calling the job "nearly impossible."

In fact, the former Algerian foreign minister agreed with the Iranians in hoping Syrians themselves will be able to help implement solution, telling BBC

"I have been going to Syria for 50 years or more and have seen this mosaic of communities... who put their Syria identity first. I refuse to believe Syrians will forget that, go back to narrow identities, and find it indispensable to kill their neighbor."

No date has been released for Brahimi's Syria visit, but his office said they hope it will be arranged in the coming days. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120909/iran-says-syria-un-peace-envoy-planning-trip-tehran