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article imageKofi Annan resigns as Syria envoy at UN Security Council

By Anne Sewell     Aug 3, 2012 in World
Citing finger-pointing and name-calling within the UN Security Council, Kofi Annan has resigned his position as Syria envoy.
UN chief, Ban Ki-moon says that Annan, who has been mediating the Syrian crisis as a special UN-Arab League Envoy, is stepping down from his post.
"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," Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.
Ban said he is discussing possible successors with the Arab League. "I remain convinced that yet 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," he said.
Annan blames his step down on "the increasing militarization" in Syria, as well as the international community's inability to come to a consensus over the conflict.
Annan told journalists in Geneva, “As an envoy I cannot want peace more than the protagonist, more than the Security Council or the international community.”
“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.
Annan said at a news conference at the UN Geneva offices. “I accepted this task, which some called ‘Mission: Impossible,’ for I believed it was a sacred duty to do whatever was in my power to help the Syrian people find a peaceful solution to this bloody conflict.”
He added that the UNSC and other world and regional powers have done little to press for a peaceful political transition of power on parties in the Syrian conflict.
Annan does expect his six-point peace plan and the Syria Action Group to continue working after his mandate expires. The UN and Arab Leagues are in negotiations to name a successor for Annan, who would "carry on this crucial peacemaking effort."
Ban pointed out that Annan deserves "our profound admiration," adding that he accepted the resignation "with deep regret."
Annan was appointed as Special Envoy to Syria in February 2012, by the UN and Arab League.
He then put forward his six-point peace plan, which demanded an immediate ceasefire, the free passage of aid, the freedom of media and demonstration, a ban on heavy weaponry and a Syrian-led transition of political power.
In early July, Annan admitted that his plan has failed, as neither the Syrian government nor its opposition abide by the ceasefire, and there are no signs of an end in violence in sight.
The civil conflict in Syria has been ongoing for 17 months, with a popular uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad, and has taken over 15,000 lives, and around 200,000 refugees have fled the violence in Syria.
RIA Novosti reports that Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of the Russian parliament, blamed the failure of Annan's plan on the West.
"Regrettably, the so-called Friends of Syria led by the United States have encouraged the opposition and sought to put pressure only on the Syrian government. That became the reason behind the failure of Annan's plan," Pushkov said.
The Foreign Ministry in China expressed "regret" on Annan's leaving. On their website is a statement saying, "We understand the difficulties in Annan's mediation work and respect his decision."
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