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Brahimi Resigns as UN Envoy for Syria, Due to Failure of Political Solution to the Crisis

May 13, 2014

Brahimi steps down as international envoy for Syria: UN chief

UNITED NATIONS, May 13, 2014 (Xinhua) --

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Tuesday announced that he accepted the request of Lakhdar Brahimi to step down as the UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria, adding that the resignation will be effective on May 31.

"It is with great regret that following consultations with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, I have decided to accept the request of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi to relinquish his duties as a joint special representative of the secretary general and of the League of Arab States, effective 31st of May 2014," Ban said at a press conference here.

Brahimi was with the secretary-general as the Ban was making the announcement at the press conference. "Because of its nature, I want to make it in person," Ban said, referring to the announcement.

Brahimi, the former Algerian foreign minister and veteran UN official, was appointed by the secretary-general in August 2012 as the joint international envoy for Syria in a bid to mediate an early end to the crisis in the Middle East country, which broke out in March 2011.

Brahimi "faced almost impossible odds with the Syrian nation, Middle Eastern region, and ... international community that have been hopelessly divided in their approaches to ending the conflict, " the secretary-general said. "He has persevered with great patience and skill."

"I regret that the parties, especially the government, have proven so reluctant to take advantage of that opportunity to end the country's profound misery," Ban said.

Brahimi, at the joint press conference, said "It is very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state."

"I have absolutely no doubt that you (the secretary-general) will continue, as you have, to do everything that is humanly possible to work with the (UN) Security Council, with the neighbors of Syria, and indeed the Syrian parties themselves to end this crisis," Brahimi said.

"I am sure that the crisis will end," he said, asking those who have influence on the Syrian parties to ponder over the questions of "how many more deaths" and "how much more destruction" would be inflicted in the war-torn country.

For more than a year, Brahimi has made no secret that he is contemplating stepping down from the post as the UN and Arab League joint special representative for Syria. He told reporters a year ago that he thought about resigning every day.

Earlier this year, Brahimi has organized two rounds of negotiations in Geneva between the Syrian government and members of the opposition, the first time for the representatives of the warring two sides to sit in peace talks in Geneva since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in March 2011, but the peace talks failed to produce any positive result.

Two rounds of Syria peace talks, the first in January followed by a second round in February, saw both sides sticking to their positions without making substantial headway.

Brahimi's predecessor, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, resigned in frustration in August 2012. Like Brahimi, he complained that the UN Security Council could not unite behind his calls for an end to the violence and a peaceful political transition.

More than 100,000 people were killed and the UN estimates that some 6.3 million people have been internally displaced since the conflict broke out in March 2011 in the Middle East country. More than 2 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Ban said that at the moment, he has no plan to announce Brahimi 's successor.

Editor: yan


Brahimi's resignation mirrors frustration over political end to Syria crisis

DAMASCUS, May 13 (Xinhua) --

The resignation of UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, though expected, reflects the difficulties facing the political solution in Syria, local experts said on Tuesday.

"This resignation was expected because there is an intractability in the political solution to the Syrian crisis," Hasan Abdul-Azim, head of the oppositional National Coordination Body, told Xinhua on Tuesday, following the UN announcement of Brahimi's resignation.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday announced that he accepted Lakhdar Brahimi's request to step down as the UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria, adding that the resignation will be effective on May 31.

Abdul-Azim attributed the resignation to the world powers' " lack of seriousness" in finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis, the failure of the first two rounds of the Geneva II conference, and the international community's new focus on the Ukrainian crisis.

"All of these factors have led to the frustration of Brahimi and pushed him to resign after losing hope of the success of his mission," he said.

A former Algerian foreign minister and veteran UN official, Brahimi was the second to have been appointed by the UN chief in August 2012 as the joint international envoy for Syria, following the resignation of Kofi Annan who had also left his post after failing to make progress in the course of the political solution in Syria.

"The escalation is still present; the regime is still betting on its victories on ground and the announcement of the presidential elections while the exiled opposition is still betting on the foreign support to topple the Syrian administration by force," Abdul-Azim said.

"Both parties of the conflict are still battling over power at the expense of the Syrian people," he remarked.

Meanwhile, Maher Morhej, head of the Youth Party, told Xinhua that "the resignation of Brahimi was expected but it reflected the international community's frustration over the Syrian crisis and it has given the regime a message that ending the Syrian crisis would not happen anytime soon."

"As an opposition party, we believe that the political solution should emanate from inside Syria, not from the outside. However, the regime and the exiled opposition have placed their bet on the political solution under the mediation of the world powers. I hope that this resignation could push the Syrian warring parties to reconsider a domestic political solution," Morhej said.

But Omar Ossi, a Syrian lawmaker, said he was "so relieved" by Brahimi's resignation, saying "he was the West's man and he wasn't neutral in his approaches regarding finding a solution to Syria's crisis."

Ossi further contended that Brahimi's statements aimed at hindering the process of finding a political solution in Syria.

"I think the West would start searching for a character that could accomplish things that Brahimi couldn't achieve in the previous stage," he said, charging that "the West doesn't care about finding a political process in Syria, but to impose their will on Syria."

The Syrian government has long accused Brahimi of being biased in his mission in Syria. In March Syria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari, accused Brahimi of ignoring the presence of "terrorism" in Syria.

The government's dismay with Brahimi grew more evident when he criticized the authorities' bid to hold presidential elections, saying such an election could doom the Geneva II peace talks that meant to end the three-year-old crisis.

"If there is an election, then my suspicion is that the opposition ... will probably not be interested in talking to the government," Brahimi said in March.

Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zourbi said that "Brahimi, by his talk, has overstepped his missions and powers."

Observers believe that one of the main reasons behind Brahimi's resignation is the Syrian government's decision to hold the June 3 presidential elections, in which incumbent President Bashar al- Assad is highly expected to with a third seven-year term in office. The opposition has dismissed the vote as "farce" and boycotted it.

Editor: yan

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