Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, conceded the failure of diplomacy to resolve Syria’s conflict when he announced his resignation as international peace envoy today.
Mr Annan, who had served as the joint envoy of the UN and the Arab League, will step down at the end of August. There was no word on any possible successor. Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary general, announced the impending departure with “deep regret”.
Mr Annnan, who was appointed in February, devised a six-point peace plan designed to resolve Syria’s civil war. In theory, this proposal commanded the united support of the UN Security Council, the Arab League – and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. However, both sides in Syria’s civil war ignored the plan. The ceasefire and separation of forces demanded under point 2 were never implemented. A UN mission sent to Syria to monitor the supposed ceasefire was attacked several times, forcing it to withdraw most of its observers for their own safety. Mr Ban praised the “selfless way” in which Mr Annan had “put his formidable skills and prestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments”.
The secretary general added that he was consulting the Arab League on a possible successor to “carry on this crucial peacemaking effort”. Mr Ban said: “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.”