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Syria Peace Envoy Quits

UNITED NATIONS, May 13 2014 (IPS) - After an unsuccessful two-year attempt to end the civil war in Syria, UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has decided to step down by the end of May.

On Tuesday, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made the announcement with Brahimi by his side.

“It is with great regret that … I have decided to accept the request of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi to relinquish his duties as Joint Special Representative of the Secretary-General and League of Arab States” said Ban.

The Secretary General went on to highlight the challenges of diplomacy in the three-year conflict in Syria between the government of Bashar al-Assad and opposition forces.

“[Brahimi] 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,” said Ban.

Brahimi responded in turn, saying despite his resignation, he knows the crisis will end.

“It’s very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state.

“The question is only this: everybody who has responsibility and an influence in the situation has to remember that the question is how many more dead? How much more destruction is there going to be before Syria becomes again the Syria we have known – the new Syria that will be different from the Syria of the past, but it will be the Syria we have loved and admired for many, many years.”

Brahimi, who will officially leave his position on May 31, took over from former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in August 2012.

Ban did not name a successor, saying it would take some time to find the right person.

“Mr. Brahimi has long been recognized as one of the world’s most brilliant diplomats,” said Ban. “That the objective to which he applied his extraordinary talents has proven elusive is a tragedy for the Syrian people. 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 Syria situation, is a failure of all of us.”

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