Lakhdar Brahimi, United Nations envoy to Syria, announces resignation

U.N. special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi will step down at the end of the month

The United Nations special representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, announced his resignation Tuesday, two years after taking on a position that he had described as "nearly impossible."

The announcement of the veteran Algerian diplomat's departure at the end of the month comes after U.N-sponsored peace talks failed to produce a solution to the 3-year-old Syrian conflict, which activists say has claimed more than 15,000 lives and displaced millions. It was the latest in series of diplomatic failures in Syria.

“It’s very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state,” Brahimi said Tuesday at a news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York.

Brahimi assumed  the position of joint U.N.-Arab League special representative in August 2012, after his predecessor, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, resigned citing frustration with division in the Security Council. 

Russia, a longtime ally and key weapons supplier to Syria, and China repeatedly blocked resolutions aimed at putting pressure on the government of President Bashar Assad to reach an agreement with Syrian rebels.

A peace plan struck in the spring of 2012 failed to take hold amid continued hostilities.

Brahimi did not elaborate on his reasons for giving up the post, but  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hinted at continued diplomatic infighting in the Security Council.

“That the objective to which he applied his extraordinary talents has proven elusive is a tragedy for the Syrian people,” 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.

“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.”

But Brahimi expressed confidence that a solution would be found. 

“I'm sure that the crisis will end,” he said. “The question is how many more dead, how much more destruction there is going to be before Syria becomes again the Syria we have known.”

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