(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday announced Lakhdar Brahimi's resignation as Joint Special Representative for Syria as of May 31, but would announce the right successor at the right time.
Addressing the daily press briefing in person, in Brahimi's presence, Ban said "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, effective 31 May 2014." Ban praised Brahimi who has "long been recognized as one of the world's most brilliant diplomats, as well as an outstanding proponent of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
"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 Syrian situation, is a failure of all of us." He added that he will continue to count on Brahimi's "wisdom, advice and unique experience" on other issues of concern to the United Nations.
Ban noted that during his two-year mission, Brahimi has sought an end to the "brutal and still worsening civil war in Syria. 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 said Brahimi has "persevered, with great patience and skill, because he knows that without efforts towards a new Syria, the Syrian people will be condemned to further suffering." Ban "greatly appreciate" Brahimi's diplomacy in organizing the Geneva Conference on Syria and for facilitating the intra-Syria talks earlier this year. I regret that the parties, and especially the Government, have proven so reluctant to take advantage of that opportunity to end the country's profound misery." He renewed his appeal to them to show the "wisdom and sense of responsibility that could allow a way out of this nightmare. I also reiterate my strong view that there must be accountability for the terrible crimes that have been - and are being - committed," such as deliberate starvation of communities by preventing humanitarian access.
Ban reiterated his call on all involved, including those states with influence over the parties, "to reflect deeply on what we should do at this moment to generate hope of a better future for the people of Syria."
Asked about a plan B, Ban said "we are still working on plan A while we are regrettably letting Ambassador Brahimi leave this position. I am sure he will stay around us and will always be ready to provide his experience and expertise. Then we will have to think what course of action we will have to take very seriously for some time. We may have an opportunity of discussing with you later." He said "we will have to find his successor, but since this announcement was made today, let me take some time to think of who should be the right person. We have had former (Secretary General) Kofi Annan, then Brahimi, the most brilliant and experienced person, not only in the region but the whole world." Brahimi, added, Ban, "knows all the persons involved. With his experience, we thought it was a natural expectation, that we would be able to deliver together, but somehow, because of the division, divided world here and there, at the UN and the region, we have not been able to make any progress during the last three years." He expressed regret that te Syrian government and opposition have failed. "This is their country, their people. We are here to help them. They have such a long, colorful very brilliant history and civilization. Why do they have to destroy it completely this way. I am urging them again to think about their own future. We will continuously be ready to work together with them for their future." Asked about Brahimi's successor, Ban said "I never indicated that I will appoint a successor. We will have to have somebody who will work after Brahimi left. But at this time, I will have to think who should be the right person at what time." He insinuated that the successor will not be joint representative. Whoever will take the job has to represent only the UN and not the Arab League.
Brahimi said the occasion is "very sad" because he will be leaving "Syria behind in such a bad state." He was confident that Ban "will continue to do everything that is humanly possible" to work with the Security Council, the neighbouring countries and the Syrian parties themselves to end this crisis," adding "I am sure this crisis will end.
"The question is that everybody who has a responsibility and an influence in this situation has to remember how many more deaths, how many more destruction are 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," he said.