Syria envoy Kofi Annan called it quits Thursday, confirming a growing conclusion that international diplomacy is having no impact on the 17-month-old crisis and that the only path in Syria now appears to be one of fighting toward a violent end.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he remained convinced that “yet more bloodshed is not the answer.” He added that he is consulting with the Arab League, which teamed up with the UN in giving Mr. Annan his mandate, to find a replacement to “carry on this crucial peacemaking effort.”
But UN officials and regional analysts say it will be difficult to find anyone of Annan’s stature who could be expected to do any better at imposing an international peace plan on what analysts now consider to be a full-blown civil war. Annan preceded Mr. Ban as UN secretary-general and, though he was not always a Washington favorite, enjoys broad international respect.
Annan came up with a six-point peace plan for Syria earlier this year that envisioned a pullback from fighting and transitional steps toward a democratic government. While the plan was approved by the UN Security Council, it was never backed up by full international support.
“When the Security Council failed to heed Mr. Annan’s repeated calls for collective and significant consequences for noncompliance with its prior resolutions, those members who blocked this action effectively made Mr. Annan’s mission impossible,” said Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, in a statement Thursday.