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Syria: Kofi Annan resigns as mediator

Translated Wednesday 8 August 2012, by Jayne McKenzie and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Kofi Annan has “resigned” as mediator for the UN and the Arab League in Syria, announced UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in a statement on Thursday.

Kofi Annan informed the UN and the Arab League that he does not intend to continue his mission when his mandate expires on the 31st of August 2012. The Nobel Peace Prize-winner was appointed as the UN and Arab League joint special envoy to the crisis in Syria on February 23rd, but his six-point peace plan, which anticipated a cease-fire between the government and the opposition forces, and a political transition, was never carried out. The UN-Arab League special envoy also made it clear that he had not received the full support that the cause deserved. “The increasing militarization on the ground and the lack of unanimity in the Security Council fundamentally changed my role", he declared from Geneva.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed his “deepest gratitude to Mr. Annan for the determined and courageous efforts he has made” and his “deep regret” to see him leave. He mentioned having entered into discussions with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi “with a view to the prompt appointment of a successor who can carry on this crucial peacemaking effort”.

“The UN remains committed to pursue through diplomacy an end to the violence” in Syria, the UN Secretary-General emphasised, but he regrets that “the persistent divisions within the Security Council have themselves become an obstacle to diplomacy, making the work of any mediator vastly more difficult”, referring implicitly to the fact that Moscow and Beijing have blocked several Council resolutions. “Tragically, the spiral of violence in Syria is continuing”, noted Ban Ki-moon. “Both the Government and the opposition forces continue to demonstrate their determination to rely on ever-increasing violence”.

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