Former Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa could be tapped to replace the recently resigned special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, Egyptian diplomatic sources said on Friday.
An unnamed source told CNN that Moussa would be the most competent candidate to take over the joint Arab League-UN position, . due to to his wide network of international connections.
However, Moussa, who was Egypt’s foreign minister from 1991 to 2001 before becoming secretary general of the Arab League until 2011, is poised to become national security adviser and foreign minister in newly-elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi’s government, and it is unclear if he would forgo that role to become special envoy, the official added.
Brahimi announced on May 13 that Saturday would be his last day serving in the position.
Brahimi took up the post in August 2012, replacing former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, almost a year-and-a-half into the Syrian civil war. During his tenure, he managed to get government officials and opposition to two rounds of peace talks in Geneva, but these ended without an agreement.
Brahimi had been working behind the scenes to restart the Geneva negotiations but that effort was all but doomed when President Bashar Assad’s government announced that presidential elections would be held on June 3.
Since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011, activists say more than 150,000 have been killed in the fighting. While Syrian President Bashar Assad has managed to push back rebel forces over the past year, the country is still marred by fighting between regime forces and rebel factions, as well as opposition infighting.
Moussa is a holdover from Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak era and has been a staunch supporter of Sissi since the former army chief led a coup that toppled the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.
Earlier in May, Moussa also encouraged Gaza-strip rulers Hamas to accept the Arab League peace initiative and recognize Israel as part of their reconciliation deal with Fatah.
AFP contributed tot his report.