The international community has voiced regret over Kofi Annan’s decision to quit as the United Nations and Arab League’s joint special envoy to Syria.
The former UN chief is frustrated at the failure of his peace plan amid what he called “finger-pointing and name-calling” at the Security Council. “He never was able to win the cooperation of all the people he needed,” said Jon Alterman, Director of the Middle East Programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Study in Washington DC. “And he has been critical of the Iranians but also especially the Russians and the Chinese.” As divided world powers now play a blame game over Annan’s departure, the future of the UN observer mission in Syria hangs in the balance. The Security Council is unlikely to renew the monitors’ mandate when it expires later this month, in the view of France. “I think the mission will disappear on August 19,” French UN Ambassador Gerard Araud, president of the Security Council this month, told reporters. He said that he could see no other scenario, given the stance of a number of member states. The unarmed observers’ role was to monitor a ceasefire brokered by Annan. But most of their activities were suspended in June because of an increased risk from rising violence.