Kuwait will replace Syria as a candidate for a seat on the U.N.'s top human rights body in this month's election but Syria will run in 2013.

The Kuwaiti and Syrian ambassadors announced the deal after the 53-member Asian Group met behind closed doors Wednesday and endorsed the change.

Kuwait was supposed to be a candidate in 2013.

Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told reporters his government's decision to delay its candidature for a seat on the Human Rights Council had nothing to do with the current unrest in the country.

But Asian diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed, said Ja'afari told them the government wanted to concentrate on its reform program.