UN diplomats: Syria mediator determined to resign

Brahimi fed up, but will hang on a "few more days" before quitting; feels UN recognizing opposition undermined his neutrality.

May 2, 2013 01:36
2 minute read.
Diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi.

Diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi 390. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)


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UNITED NATIONS - International Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi is determined to resign because he is fed up with the deadlock over how to end the country's two-year civil war and believes his role has been compromised, UN diplomats said on Wednesday.

Brahimi was persuaded to hang on for a "few more days" at least before quitting his joint UN and Arab League role and possibly being reappointed as an adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Syria, a senior UN diplomat said.

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Brahimi, appointed last year after former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan resigned as Syria mediator, wants to distance himself from the Arab League, envoys said, because of its decision last month to recognize Syria's opposition. Brahimi felt the move undermined his neutrality.

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Syria's government last week accused Brahimi of bias and interference after he criticized its response to an opposition offer of talks and suggested Bashar Assad should not stand again for president.

"He's pretty determined (to resign)," the senior UN diplomat said of Brahimi, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He seems to be prepared to wait a week or so ... All the people involved want him to stay."

"He feels like the Arab League have taken themselves in a direction which is a bit different from the UN and it's very difficult for him to do both jobs," the diplomat said.

There have been rumors for months that Brahimi was ready to quit due to his frustration over the failure of the United States and Russia to overcome their differences on Syria. That dispute has left the UN Security Council deadlocked and incapable of taking meaningful action on Syria because Washington and Moscow are veto-wielding permanent members.

Annan, voiced similar frustration when he resigned in August. Like Brahimi, he complained that the Security Council could not unite behind his calls for an end to the violence and a peaceful political transition.

When asked about Brahimi's plans, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky referred to comments by the veteran Algerian diplomat last month. Brahimi said: "Every day I wake up and think I should resign. One day perhaps I will."

Brahimi met US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington on Monday. A State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Kerry had "reiterated our support for his mission despite the challenging circumstances."

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