UN Divided: Kofi Annan steps down as war intensifies in Syria
- Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general has resigned from his post as special
envoy in search of a cease-fire in Syria, because of a divided Security Council
and a growing militarization of the conflict.
In a press conference, Annan spoke of "a clear lack of unity" in the Security Council, where there continues to be "finger pointing and name calling", while "the intransigence of the Syrian government" and " a growing campaign of opposition" have dominated on the ground.
Annan was appointed six months ago as UN/Arab League special envoy of the to seek a peaceful solution to the tensions in Syria that started with peaceful demonstrations in March 2011, that were gradually transformed into a civil war.
The former UN secretary general's proposal was based on the implementation of a cease-fire by both sides and on the start of a political transition. Neither condition was implemented.
The United States, Britain and France have continuously worked for sanctions against Assad, demanding he step down, which China and Russia have always resisted, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar have increasingly backed the armed opposition and the guerrillas and Iran has promised to always be on the side of the Syrian regime.
Kofi Annan said that the problems of Syria have "increased the division of the international community." "While the Syrian people are in urgent need of action, we continue to point fingers and accuse [each other] on the Security Council."
"Syria - he added - 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. "
On Annan's announcement of his resignation which shall become effective from August 31, Russia, United States, Britain and France began to blame each other for the failure of his mission.
Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the UN has accused the "Western powers" that have blocked "balanced and reasonable proposals", the White House says it is the fault of Russia and China who did not support "meaningful resolutions against Assad", William Hague , British Foreign Minister, together with France, criticized "vetoes" posed by Russia and China.
Syria has expressed regret at the resignation of Annan.
Today, in a desperate attempt to keep diplomacy alive, the Arab League will seek a UN General Assembly vote to "express deep concern about the threat of the Syrian authorities to use chemical and biological weapons." Russia has already said it will not vote on the resolution because "too partisan". Even if the resolution passes, it is not binding.
Meanwhile, the situation on the ground is increasingly desperate. According to the Local Coordinating Committee, yesterday 130 people were killed in Syria, mostly in the two big cities of Damascus and Aleppo. According to anti-Assad activists, in 17 months of riots more than 20 thousand people, mostly civilians have died.
While there is discussion about a greater unity of the international community, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have increased their financial support to the rebels, Britain and France have offered them their communication tools for the war, the United States says it will provide a further 25 million dollars to support "non-lethal "opposition, while Russia sells its weapons to Syria.