UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi Resigns

Diplomacy | May 14, 2014, Wednesday // 11:56|  views

Lahkdar Brahimi. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League mediator who has for months tried to put an end to Syria's ongoing civil war, announced his resignation.

The decision would be in force from May 31, as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported in a joint press-conference with the veteran Algerian diplomat Brahimi on Tuesday.

"Apologies once more that we haven't been able to help [the Syrian people] as much as they deserve, as much as we should have, and also to tell them that the tragedy in their country shall be solved... they have shown incredible resilience and dignity," the special envoy was quoted by Al-Jazeera as saying.

He also admitted he had thought of stepping down every day over the past year.

Diplomatic sources suggest it was Damascus's decision to hold presidential elections in the country on June 3, amid widespread violence and despite Brahimi's diplomatic efforts to broker peace deals in Geneva, that pushed the mediator to quit.

Ban Ki-moon threw the blame for the failed attempts at peace on Syria's government, though acknowledging all sides were responsible for the developments in the country. The UN head also argued that the international community had also played a negative role in the conflict, as its internal divisions were hindering Brahimi's task.

Syrian envoy to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, rebuked Ban's comments, accusing him of siding against Damascus and arguing that was the reason President Assad refused calls from the Secretary-General.

Kamel Morjane, Tunisia's Defense Minister prior to the Arab Spring which toppled the country's government and its president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, is considered Brakhimi's likely successor, alongside former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, former Secretary-General of the Council of the EU Javier Solana, and Sigrid Kaag, who leads the UN mission to Syria for the destruction of chemical weapons. However, it is still not clear whether another peace broker would be sent to the country.

Brahimi himself took the office after prominent diplomat and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan resigned in August 2012 over what he considered helplessness in the conflict, in which he believed all sides were pushing away from peace.

Syria's three-year-long civil war, which was flared after President Bashar al-Assad's regime quelled peaceful protests across the country, has taken more than 150 000 lives, with millions more internally displaced or having left the country.

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Tags: Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, Ban Ki-moon, Bashar Jaafari, Kofi Annan, Kevin Rudd, Javier Solana, Bashar Al-Assad, Sigrid Kaag, UN, Presidential elections, civil war, internally displaced


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