Syria Envoy Kofi Annan Quits Mission

08/02/2012 11:02 am ET | Updated Oct 02, 2012

The United Nations' envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, submitted his resignation on Thursday, citing finger pointing and divisions within the Security Council as part of his reason for quitting.

Annan announced his decision at a press conference in Geneva. "The increasing militarization on the ground and the clear lack of unity in the Security Council have fundamentally changed the circumstances for the effective exercise of my role," he said.

The New York Times called Annan's announcement "tinged with bitterness and regret."

In a critical op-ed on the Financial Times, Annan called for an end to the stalemate between international powers. "Syria can still be saved from the worst calamity. But this requires courage and leadership, most of all from the permanent members of the Security Council, including from Presidents Putin and Obama," Annan wrote.

Annan's six-point peace plan for Syria, which included a cease-fire between the Assad regime and opposition, never took hold in the beleaguered country. Many Syrian activists criticized his inability to halt the violence, and the Washington Post wrote on Thursday that Annan's failure as an envoy may have marred his reputation as a career peacemaker.

The Associated Press reports Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement accepting Annan's resignation with "deep regret" and will work with the Arab League to seek a successor.

When asked whether anyone will succeed him, Annan responded, "The world is full of crazy people like me. So don't be surprised if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon can find someone who can do a better job than me."

On Friday, the U.N. General Assembly will vote on an Arab League resolution demanding that Assad step down. The Associated Press reports that Annan will leave his position on August 31. His memoir, "Interventions: A Life in War and Peace," is set to be published this September.

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