Annan quits Syria role, blames UN 'finger pointing'

UN's Arab League mediator Kofi Annan announces resignation, expresses frustration at UNSC's inability to agree on action.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
August 2, 2012 18:35
2 minute read.
U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

Kofi Annan in Damascus 390. (photo credit: REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is quitting as international peace envoy for Syria in the face of an armed rebellion against President Bashar Assad whose violence shows no sign of abating after 17 months of strife.

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon said in a statement: "Mr. Annan has informed me of his intention not to renew his mandate when it expires on 31 August 2012," adding that he and Elaraby were in discussions on appointing a successor to Annan.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"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 continued.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, a clearly frustrated Annan blamed "finger pointing and name calling" in the 15-nation Security Council as on of the reasons for his decision to step down.

Mr Annan authored a six-point peace plan for Syria which was intended to bring an end to the fighting. Annan's mission, centered on an April ceasefire that never took hold, has looked irrelevant as fighting has intensified in Damascus and Aleppo.

Annan has commented that he expects the 6-point plan and the "Syria Action Group" to continue, but predicts new initiatives to resolved the crisis in Syria.
Click for full JPost coverage

Russia has expressed regret over Annan's decision, with Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin commenting: "We understand that it's his decision." "We regret that he chose to do so. We have supported very strongly Kofi Annan's efforts. He has another month to go, and I hope this month is going to be used as effectively as possible under these very difficult circumstances."



Churkin quickly started finger-pointing about Annan's departure, suggesting that Western powers that opposed "reasonable and balanced proposals" in the Security Council undermined Annan's peace efforts from the start.

Churkin added he was encouraged that Ban was looking for a successor to Annan.

Council diplomats have said privately that the United States and Gulf Arab states have become increasingly frustrated in recent weeks with what they saw as Annan's dogged commitment to diplomacy at a time when they believe all avenues for dialogue with Syrian President Bashar Assad have been exhausted.

The White House has said Kofi Annan's resignation as mediator in Syria highlighted Syrian President Bashar Assad's refusal to abide by a UN-backed peace plan and the failure of Russia and China to hold Assad accountable at the UN Security Council, blaming them for vetoing three council resolutions intended to ratchet up the pressure on Assad to stop his attacks on civilians and halt the fighting, which has escalated into a full-scale civil war.

"President Assad, despite his promise to abide by the Kofi Annan plan, continues to brutally murder his own people," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday.

Related Content

August 16, 2018
'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin dies at home in Detroit aged 76

By REUTERS