Annan resigns as UN Syria envoy; China regrets

China has expressed regret and understanding over Kofi Annan`s decision to resign as UN-Arab League Special Envoy for the Syrian issue.

Zeenews Bureau

Beijing: China has expressed regret and understanding over Kofi Annan`s decision to resign as UN-Arab League Special Envoy for the Syrian issue, according to an official spokesperson.

"We understand the difficulties Mr Annan has encountered in negotiation work and we respect his decision," spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hong Lei, said, adding that China appreciates the active and constructive role Annan has played in pushing forward the political process of the Syrian issue.

Hong said that China is committed to the peaceful, fair and appropriate resolution of the Syrian issue, and that the international community should stick to the political settlement of the issue.

"China is open to any proposal that can help politically solve the Syrian issue, and China supports the United Nations to continue to play an important role in achieving the resolution," Hong said.

Annan`s resignation comes six months after he was appointed by the UN to engage with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad`s government and the rebel forces to bring an end to the violence in Syria which has so far left nearly 10,000 people dead and thousands more displaced.

A bitter Annan said it was "impossible" for him or any other mediator to facilitate a political process between the Syrian government and rebel forces without "serious and united" pressure by the international community.

Annan spoke over phone with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who expressed his "deep regret" over his decision to not renew his mandate when it expires on August 31. Annan assumed his post in late February.

"At a time when we need - when the Syrian people desperately need action - there continues to be finger-pointing and name-calling in the Security Council," Annan told reporters in Geneva.

"The increasing militarisation on the ground and the clear lack of unity in the Security Council, have fundamentally changed the circumstances for the effective exercise of my role... Without serious, purposeful and united international pressure, including from the powers of the region, it is impossible for me, or anyone, to compel the Syrian government in the first place, and also the opposition, to take the steps necessary to begin a political process," Annan said.

In the absence of unity in the international community and the UN Security Council over how to resolve the Syrian crisis, Annan said, "As an envoy, I can`t want peace more than the protagonists, more than the Security Council or the international community".

(With PTI inputs)