Kofi Annan resigns as UN special envoy to Syria

Kofi Annan has resigned from his post as UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, the United Nations announced on Thursday.

Last Updated: Aug 03, 2012, 00:34 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

United Nations: Kofi Annan has resigned from his post as the UN-Arab League joint special envoy for Syria, the United Nations announced on Thursday.

"Annan has informed me, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Nabil El Araby, of his intention not to renew his mandate when it expires on August 31, 2012," Ban said in a statement here.

Praising Annan’s efforts, Ban said that he deserved "profound admiration for the selfless way in which he has put his formidable skills and prestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments".

Ban also said that he along with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Mr Nabil Elaraby, was discussing about who would succeed Annan.

Annan`s resignation comes six months after he was appointed by the UN to engage with 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".

Kofi Annan scripted a six-point peace plan for Syria that called for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, the start of inclusive political dialogue, and unrestricted access to the country for the international media.

Annan`s plan called for a ceasefire that was to meant to start from mid-April, never took place actually, and the violence in Syria went on escalating, turning into a civil war now.

The former UN chief had also met Assad to press him to end the crackdown on civilians and to restore peace in his country.

During his tenure he had also met with leaders like Russia`s President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov focusing on what measures need to be taken to end the violence and the killing in Syria and how to proceed with a political transition there.

Expressing regret over Kofi Annan`s resignation, UN chief said that he was "indebted" to Annan and his team for their efforts to restore peace in Syria.

"I will continue to draw on his wisdom and counsel, and on the work of the Office of the Joint Special Envoy," Ban said.

Ban also used the occasion to express dissatisfaction over the sharp divisions that exist within the UN Security Council regarding decisions over Syria.

"The persistent divisions within the Security Council have themselves become an obstacle to diplomacy, making the work of any mediator vastly more difficult," the UN chief said.

Concerned over the raging violence in Syria, Ban said, "Tragically, the spiral of violence in Syria is continuing. The hand extended to turn away from violence in favour of dialogue and diplomacy - as spelled out in the Six-Point Plan - has not been not taken, even though it still remains the best hope for the people of Syria," he said.

"More bloodshed is not the answer; each day of it will only make the solution more difficult while bringing deeper suffering to the country and greater peril to the region," ban added.

Saying that the UN was committed to bring an end to the violence in Syria and come up with a political solution for the peace of the strife-ridden country, Ban said that it was possible only if "the parties to the violence make a firm commitment to dialogue, and when the international community is strongly united in support".

With Agency Inputs