Kofi Annan has decided to quit his mission as the special UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, citing lack of support and increasing militarization of the unrest.
“I did not receive all the support that the cause deserved,” Annan said at a press conference in Geneva on Thursday.
In a statement, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed “deep regret” over Annan’s resignation and thanked him “for the determined and courageous efforts he has made as the Joint Special Envoy for Syria.”
“Kofi Annan deserves our 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 said.
The statement added that Annan did not plan to renew his mandate after its expiry on August 31.
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin also expressed regret over Annan’s decision to step down.
“We understand that it is his decision. We regret that he chose to do so. We have supported very strongly Kofi Annan’s efforts,” he told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York City.
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Ministry expressed regret over the former UN chief and Nobel peace laureate’s resignation, stressing Syria’s commitment to the six-point peace plan negotiated by the UN-Arab League envoy.
In another development, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation in Syria with British Prime Minster David Cameron during a meeting in London on Thursday.
Annan, who was appointed to the post on February 23, proposed a six-point peace plan to restore calm in Syria.
The proposal envisaged a ceasefire between foreign-backed insurgents and the Syrian government forces, a deal which went into effect in mid-April but failed to end the violence as the insurgents refused to lay down their arms.
Annan’s plan called for the realization of a ceasefire between the government and the opposition and also urged that humanitarian groups be allowed to have access to the population, detainees be released, and a political dialogue be started.
Annan resigns as Syria envoy: ‘Finger-pointing, name-calling in UNSC’ to blame
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.
Syria Regrets Resignation of Annan, Stresses commitment to cooperating with Observers
DAMASCUS, (SANA)-Syria expressed regret over the news of resignation of the UN Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan from his post and his request not to extend the mission, Foreign and Expatriates Ministry announced on Thursday.
“Syria has always declared and proved its full commitment to implementing the plan of Annan with its 6-point, and cooperated with the observers’ team in achieving the hoped-for mission.. but the countries which want to destabilize the situation in Syria and voted for the said plan at the UN Security Council are the same countries that obstructed and still seek to foil this mission, because the intentions were not true in helping Syria overcome its crisis… that obstruction was represented by supporting and harboring the armed terrorist groups leading to the continuation of violence in the country,” The Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The statement added that Syria is still committed to combating terrorism in light of the Syrian laws and the relevant UN Security council decisions in order to restore security and stability to the country and protect the Syrian innocent citizens.
It stressed that the Syrian government still believes in the comprehensive national dialogue as the only way to come out of the crisis as well as the national reconciliation among the Syrian sides without any foreign intervention as to achieve the Syrian people’s aspirations.
The Foreign Ministry concluded by underlining that the Syrian government is still adhered to cooperating with the international observers’ team to fulfill the plan of Annan.