Kofi Annan Resigns As UN Special Envoy To Syria

Kofi Annan, who has been mediating the Syrian crisis as a special UN-Arab League Envoy, unexpectedly steps down from the post.

RT – Kofi Annan, who has been mediating the Syrian crisis as a special UN-Arab League Envoy, is stepping down from the post, UN chief Ban Ki-moon says.

“Mr. Annan has informed me, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Mr. Nabil Elaraby, of his intention not to renew his mandate when it expires on 31 August 2012,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.

Annan blames “the increasing militarization” in Syria, along with the international community’s inability to come to a consensus over the conflict, for his departure.

“As an envoy I cannot want peace more than the protagonist, more than the Security Council or the international community,” Annan told journalists in Geneva.

“At a time when the Syrian people desperately need action, there continues to be finger-pointing and name-calling in the Security Council,” he said, adding that the UNSC and other world and regional powers did little to press a peaceful political transition of power onto all the parties on the Syrian conflict.

Annan expects his peace plan and the Syria Action Group to continue working after his mandate expires.

The UN has resolved to continue seeking a diplomatic solution to the conflict, Ban Ki-moon says. The UN and Arab League are in negotiations to name Annan’s successor, who would “carry on this crucial peacemaking effort.”

Annan deserves “our profound admiration,” Ban pointed out, adding that he accepted the resignation “with deep regret.”

The UN and the Arab League appointed Annan as Special Envoy to Syria in February 2012. Annan then put forward a six-point peace plan, the demands of which included an immediate ceasefire, a ban on heavy weaponry, the free passage of aid, the freedom of media and demonstration and a Syrian-led transition of political power.

He admitted in early July that his plan had failed, as both the Syrian government and opposition refused to abide by the ceasefire, leaving no sign violence could decrease.

Syria has been torn by a civil conflict for 17 months. A popular uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad has taken over 15,000 lives. Over 200,000 refugees have fled the violence in the Arab country.

Annan’s departure marks Syria ‘stalemate’?

The resignation of the UN-Arab League special envoy “illustrates the dramatic stalemate of the Syrian conflict,” said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. France’s UN envoy also voiced concerns that the observer mission will be wrapped up following Annan’s departure. The UN Security Council will be deciding on the observers on August 16.

The UK, which wants Assad to resign, said the resignation showed that the mediation process was not working.

“[The Annan plan] hasn’t worked because we have got this appalling bloodshed. I think what we need to do is actually ramp things up,” British Prime Minister David Cameron told Sky News.

Syria voiced regret over Annan’s resignation, reaffirming its support of the principles he laid out.

“Syria still believes the only way out of the crisis is a national dialogue and peace resolution, not a foreign intervention,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said, adding that Damascus would continue its pursuit of terrorism and in its bid to ensure security in the country.

A wide spectrum of international leaders and diplomats deplored Annan’s resignation, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moscow was nevertheless happy to learn that the UN and Arab League are looking for a successor to continue the peace mission, remarked Russian envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin.

“We understand that it’s his decision,” Churkin told reporters. “We have very strongly supported Kofi Annan’s efforts. He has another month to go, and I hope this month will be used as effectively as possible under these very difficult circumstances.”

Washington says the resignation highlights the failure of Russia and China to support an action against Assad. The Syrian government was also unwilling to embrace Annan’s plan, which is now seen as the major reason behind the resignation, added White House press secretary Jay Carney.

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