Brahimi's deputy leaves Syria talks team

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By Khaled Yacoub Oweis GENEVA (Reuters) - Deputy mediator Nasser al-Kidwa has left the team running peace talks aimed at ending the war in Syria, diplomatic sources said on Monday, after repeated calls from the Syrian government for him to be removed. The United Nations confirmed his departure and said he had informed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of his intention to leave his post as deputy to international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, effective this week. Kidwa, a former foreign minister of the Palestinian authority and a nephew of Yasser Arafat, was appointed as a deputy to Brahimi's predecessor Kofi Annan in March 2012, and continued in the role under Brahimi. His departure comes after the first week-long session of talks, chaired by Brahimi, between the Syrian government and the opposition, ended on Friday.