by Adeniyi Abdul
Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan has decided to step down as the U.N.-Arab League mediator in the 17-month-old Syria conflict at the end of the month. He announced this in a press conference in Geneva where he blamed the increasing militarisation going on in Syria and the “clear lack of unity” in the UN Security Council for standing in the way of him doing his job properly.
“When the Syrian people desperately need action, there continues to be finger pointing and name calling in the Security Council,” Annan said. He further stated that the problems in Syria were “compounded by the disunity of the international community”.
“It is impossible for me or anyone to compel the Syrian government, and also the opposition, to take the steps to bring about the political process.
“Syria can still be saved from the worst calamity if the international community can show the courage and leadership necessary to compromise on their partial interests for the sake of the Syrian people – for the men, women and children who have already suffered far too much.”
Speaking on the probability of someone taking over the job, he said, “the world is full of crazy people like me, so don’t be surprised if someone else decides to take it on.”
UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon also released a statement confirming that he had been informed and saying Annan deserved “profound admiration”.
“Mr. Annan has informed me, and the secretary-general of the League of Arab States, Mr. Nabil Elaraby, of his intention not to renew his mandate when it expires on 31 August 2012,” 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.”