Syria crisis deepens as Kofi Annan quits peace envoy role
Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy to Syria, announced two days ago that he was submitting his resignation as peace envoy for the Syrian conflict.
Announcing the news in Geneva on Thursday morning, Annan stated that he will not be renewing his mandate as Peace Envoy to Syria when it runs out at the end of August, in what is perhaps the most damning indictment that the diplomatic process in Syria is utterly failing.
After enduring close to six months of constant negotiations, frustrations and stalemates – both within the UN Security Council and on the ground in Syria – it seems that the failure to achieve even a basic cease-fire between President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition Syria Free Army has taken its toll on the normally stalwart Annan.
Speaking at a conference at UN offices in Geneva, Annan cited that the increasing militarisation of both the government and opposition forces in Syria, as well as the “clear lack of unity” of the UN Security Council were major factors in his decision.
Annan was also heavily critical of what he called “finger-pointing and name-calling” at the meetings of the UN Security Council, reinforcing the widely held idea that the numerous meetings held by international powers were largely ineffective.
News of Annan’s resignation has been received with disappointment by many leaders, amongst them UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who have lauded Annan for his “great merit”.
However, it is unclear how Annan’s resignation will be received by ordinary Syrians, some of whom are already critical of his inability to halt the violence and bloodshed wracking the country over the last six months.
A successor to Kofi Annan has not yet been announced, and there are suggestions that with his departure the process to peace will stall. Despite his resignation, which comes into effect on the 31st August, Annan insists that the pursuit of peace is not over.