Authors: Joshua Cohan
(UNITED NATIONS) -- Kofi Annan, the United Nations-Arab League joint special envoy to Syria, will resign at the end of the month, the UN announced Thursday.
Annan failed to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to step aside and became caught in a dispute between the United States and Russia that has kept the U.N. Security Council from doing anything to punish Syria for the unchecked killing of civilians.
“Tragically, the spiral of violence in Syria is continuing,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement Thursday, accepting Annan’s resignation. “The hand extended to turn away from violence in favour of dialogue and diplomacy - as spelled out in the Six-Point Plan - has not been not taken, even though it still remains the best hope for the people of Syria. Both the Government and the opposition forces continue to demonstrate their determination to rely on ever-increasing violence. In addition, the persistent divisions within the Security Council have themselves become an obstacle to diplomacy, making the work of any mediator vastly more difficult.
“The UN remains committed to pursue through diplomacy an end to the violence and a Syrian-led solution that meets the legitimate democratic aspirations of its people. This can only succeed – indeed any peacemaking effort can only prosper – when the parties to the violence make a firm commitment to dialogue, and when the international community is strongly united in support,” ” the secretary general continued.
The White House, meanwhile, is refusing to comment on reports that say President Obama signed an intelligence directive to further support Syrian rebels in secret – support that reportedly does not include weapons.
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