One on One
Lakhdar Brahimi
Riz Khan meets the international diplomat and peace negotiator.
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2009 14:08 GMT

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As one of the world's leading diplomats he flew into trouble zones as the special envoy of the United Nations secretary general – and had a reputation for straight talking and tough negotiating.

As a young man, Lakhdar Brahimi left his studies in Paris to join Algeria's war of liberation – and grew to become one of the country's most respected figures.

On this week's One on One, Riz Khan speaks with international diplomat and peace negotiator, Lakhdar Brahimi.

Born to a wealthy family south of Algiers in 1934, the young Lakhdar Brahimi was educated in Algeria and France, and it was during his time in Paris that the war of independence began back home – prompting him to leave his studies and join the liberation front.

Brahimi was soon fast-tracked into a diplomatic career, representing the independence movement overseas while still in his 20s.

He went on to become Algeria's Foreign Minister in the early '90s and served the United Nations in Haiti and South Africa, before being appointed in 2001 as UN secretary general, Kofi Annan's special representative to Afghanistan and Iraq. 

There his reputation for being very direct put him at odds with American foreign policy.

The veteran diplomat says he retired from his duties at the end of 2005. But his phone still keeps ringing.

This episode of One on One aired from Friday, January 9, 2009. 

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