Arab League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli
Arab League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli, seen here in March 2012, said the pan-Arab bloc has postponed a planned meeting on the Syrian conflict that had been due to take place in Saudi Arabia later on Sunday. © Gianluigi Guercia - AFP/File
Arab League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli
AFP
Last updated: August 12, 2012

Arabs postpone Syria meeting

Arab foreign ministers postponed a planned meeting on the Syrian conflict that had been due to take place in Saudi Arabia later on Sunday, a top Arab League official said.

Ministers had been due to meet in in the Red Sea city of Jeddah to mull their next moves on the Syrian conflict after the resignation of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan earlier this month, as well as who might succeed him.

The meeting was "postponed until a later date," the pan-Arab bloc's deputy secretary general, Ahmed Ben Helli, told reporters at League headquarters in Cairo.

On Saturday, Ben Helli said an extraordinary meeting would discuss the "latest developments in Syria and what policy action to take" after Annan's announcement on August 2 that he was stepping down.

They were also to discuss a successor for the former UN chief, he added.

Diplomats at the United Nations have tipped veteran Algerian diplomat, Lakhdar Brahimi, a former top League official, as the new envoy and France's ambassador Araud said Friday that a replacement could be named early next week.

But in a statement released on Friday, Brahimi made no mention of the speculation about his nomination, limiting himself to calling for an end to the bitter divisions on the UN Security Council over the Syrian conflict which Annan cited in his resignation announcement.

"The UN Security Council and regional states must unite to ensure that a political transition can take place as soon as possible," the 78-year-old said.

"Millions of Syrians are clamouring for peace. World leaders cannot remain divided any longer, over and above their cries."

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