UNITED NATIONS – Lakhdar Brahimi is resigning as the international point man on Syria, the U.N. chief announced Tuesday, marking a second failure by the United Nations and Arab League to end the country’s worsening civil war and highlighting the deep divisions among the Syrian parties and key countries on how to restore peace.
With Brahimi at his side, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy will step down on May 31 after nearly two years. Brahimi will be following in the footsteps of his longtime friend, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who resigned from the same job in August 2012 after failing to broker a cease-fire as the country descended into civil war.
Ban blamed Syria’s opposition but especially the government, the divided U.N. Security Council which has been impotent, and feuding influential nations for failing to help Brahimi achieve a peace agreement.
“He has faced almost impossible odds, with a Syrian nation, Middle Eastern region and wider international community that have been hopelessly divided in their approaches to ending the conflict,” Ban said. “That his efforts have not received effective support from the United Nations body that is charged with upholding peace and security, and from countries with influence on the Syrian situation, is a failure of all of us.”
Brahimi, 80, is a former Algerian foreign minister and longtime U.N. diplomat and troubleshooter in hotspots from Afghanistan to Iraq.