Kofi Annan, the international mediator on the Syrian crisis, has announced he will quit at the end of this month. Five months ago, Mr Annan took the role of joint special envoy for Syria in order to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis, help end killings of civillians and human rights abuses and moot a path towards a political transition.
In what was deemed by many as “Mission Impossible”, Annan worked tirelessly to help the Syrian people find a peaceful solution to the bloody conflict that has been going on for over one year. More than 20,000 people – mostly unarmed civilians – have died in 17 months of unrest.
Announcing his decision to quit on Thursday, Annan said the severity of the humanitarian costs of the conflict, and the exceptional threats posed by the crisis to international peace and security, justified the attempts to secure a peaceful transition to a political settlement, however daunting the challenge was.
Annan’s concerns are genuine as the increasing militarisation on the ground and the clear lack of unity in the UN Security Council had fundamentally changed the circumstances for the effective exercise of his role.
Also, bloodshed has continued because of the Syrian Government’s intransigence, and continuing refusal to implement his six-point peace plan which had been compounded by the disunity of the international community.
We echo Annan’s words that there must be serious, purposeful and united international pressure to help end the crisis in Syria. Also, finger-pointing and name-calling in the UN Security Council must end to ensure peace prevails.