UN/MOSCOW — United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon announced yesterday the resignation of the UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Kofi Annan. Annan quit as
UN-Arab League envoy for Syria after battling to persuade President Bashar al-Assad to accept a peace plan, the UN said yesterday.
Ban announced “with deep regret,” that Annan had tendered his resignation, as the Syrian civil war spiralled further out of control.
The UN and Arab League named Annan, a former UN secretary general and Nobel Peace laureate as its envoy on the Syria conflict on February 23.
Assad agreed to a six-point peace plan with Annan but according to Western reports, he has never carried it out.
“I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Annan for the determined and courageous efforts he has made as the Joint Special Envoy for Syria,” Ban said in a statement.
“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 added.
The statement added that Annan had said he would not renew his mandate when it expires on August 31. Ban said that he was in discussions with the Arab League on naming a successor.
Russia said it regretted Annan's decision to quit as UN-Arab League envoy on the Syrian conflict.
“We understand that that’s his decision; we regret that he chose to do so,” Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters after the UN statement announcing Annan’s resignation. Churkin insisted that Russia announced that it would not support a draft UN resolution on Syria proposed by several Arab countries, its Foreign Ministry said yesterday.
The draft resolution, submitted to the UN General Assembly was “one-sided and unbalanced,” the ministry said in a statement published on its website.
“Moscow believes that the document in its current form does not contribute to the stabilisation of the situation and does not help cease violence in Syria. For this reason, Russia will not support it,” the ministry said. The resolution simply “put the entire responsibility” for the crisis on the Syrian authorities and did not mention the international community's requirements for the opposition, the statement said, adding the approach would encourage the opposition to continue its armed conflict.Several Arab nations last week turned to the General Assembly to seek approval of a resolution calling for a “political transition” and the establishment of a “democratic government” in Syria, after members of the Security Council failed to reach consensus on the issue.
The draft resolution also calls for sanctions against Damascus.Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov has slammed the move, saying it was “incorrect” to raise this issue at the General Assembly, because it was the Security Council that dealt with problems of sanctions.Unlike decisions by the Security Council, the General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding.
The foreign ministry reiterated the position in yesterday’s statement, saying Russia believed such a resolution intruded on the prerogatives of the UN Security Council and ran contrary to the UN Charter provisions.
It also shifted the focus of a peace plan brokered by UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan to the problem of ensuring political transition in Syria, which was not part of his current mandate, the ministry said. The six-point peace plan, which emphasises political and diplomatic settlement of the crisis in the conflict-torn Arab country, has been endorsed by relevant Security Council resolutions.
Russia was ready to make efforts toward solving the crisis in Syria “together with other international partners” based on the Annan plan, agreements reached at the Action Group meeting in Geneva and Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043, the ministry said. — AFP/Xinhua.