Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations and Arab League special envoy to Syria, has stepped down from his position.
Brahimi took the position in 2012, but resigned largely due to his failure to successfully progress towards making peace between the warring parties in Syria. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was his predecessor. Annan’s tenure as Special Envoy had lasted just six months.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon admitted the UN “had not been able to make any progress” in Syria. Ban also broke the news of Brahimi’s resignation during a news conference in New York. Ban said of Brahimi’s resignation, “He 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,” He Continued, “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 Syrian situation, is a failure of all of us.”
Brahimi, from Algeria, has over a dozen years of experience at the UN. In total, Brahimi has accumulated over 58 years of experience working in foreign service. He started at the UN in 2001 as special representative for both Afghanistan and Iraq. He is a member of The Elders, a group working for world peace. However, he isn’t Israel’s biggest fan, once calling the Jewish state “the big poison in the region.”
“It’s very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state,” Brahimi said of his failure to successfully mediate peace.
By most estimates, the three year civil war in Syria has taken the lives of over 150,000 people.
France’s Foreign Minister has said this week he has sufficient intelligence to prove Syria’s Assad regime has used chemical weapons. By his count, Assad’s forces have used chemical weapons fourteen times against rebel forces.
Israeli intelligence estimates that the Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons 30 times since August.
Syria has an election slated for June 3rd. Bashar al-Assad and 2 other candidates were the only individuals allowed on the ballots. The Alawite regime has invited allied countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, and China to ‘monitor’ the election.
The United Nations has not publicly stated if it was going to appoint a successor to Brahimi as special envoy to Syria.