News / Middle East

UN Special Envoy to Syria Resigns

FILE - U.N. mediator for Syria Lakdar Brahimi gestures during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, January 2014.
FILE - U.N. mediator for Syria Lakdar Brahimi gestures during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, January 2014.
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations and Arab League special envoy to Syria, Lakdar Brahimi, has resigned.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he accepted Brahimi's resignation, effective May 31, after discussing it with Nabil ElAraby, head of the Arab League.

The former Algerian foreign minister has worked for nearly two years to find a diplomatic solution to end three years of war in Syria, and his resignation had been anticipated for some time.

Brahimi gave his final briefing to the U.N. Security Council after Ban announced the resignation.

“I have suggested seven issues that need to be considered, and that if they are acted upon they will lead to a serious process for peace," said Brahimi. "[The] Geneva Communique is still and will continue to be at the center of things, but there are quite a number of things that need to be done.”

No successor has been named to replace the elder statesman, who recently said that if elections take place in Syria on June 3, his job — to negotiate a political settlement and establish a transitional governing body — would be pointless.

Appointed envoy in August 2012, at which point the United Nations said an estimated 20,000 people had died in the conflict, Brahimi said he is “very sad” to leave Syria still mired in crisis, but that he believes it will be resolved.

In the two years he has worked to find a political solution, activists estimate the death toll has skyrocketed to 150,000 people.

The outgoing envoy welcomed reports that Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has invited his Iranian counterpart to Riyadh for meetings.

Brahimi also noted that Iran has suggested a four-point plan for Syria that includes a cease-fire, national unity government; elections and a constitutional review that would limit the president’s powers. He said the proposal is “interesting” and could be considered.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin commended Brahimi for his efforts, saying he worked hard for a breakthrough, but it did not happen.

“But we believe that the show must go on, and that every effort must continue to be exerted in order to try to set the process of finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis in motion,” Churkin said.

Ban called Brahimi "one of the world's most brilliant diplomats" and said "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."

Brahimi, 80, has served as a U.N. special advisor on several issues during the past two decades, including serving as the special representative in Afghanistan from October 2001 to December 2004. He replaced former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan, who held the envoy post for six months and then quit, blaming the Security Council impasse for blocking his peace efforts.

Several names have been floated as possible successors to Brahimi, among them former Tunisian Foreign Minister Kamel Morjane, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and U.N. diplomat Michael Williams.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
May 14, 2014 12:51 AM
The Syria dilemma is long done deal. The West plus Obama's US lost their credibility. Syrian government continues to use chemical weapon relentlessly against its own civilians while other religious fanatics group joined the conflict and helped fuel the killing innocent further with the blessing of the west.

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
May 13, 2014 10:27 PM
Koffi Anan was very truthful. He new the impossible task facing him as a UN Special Envoy in Syria. So he quit his job in a month. But Lakdar Brahimi enjoyed the same job for two years increasing the death toll from 20,000 to more than 150,000 and adding millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and other countries and adding millions as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) within Syria. Who is the next UN Special Envoy for Syria to prolong the death, destruction and agony of Syrian people? Dumping all the responsibility for peace in Syria is the travesty of the politicians like US.President Obama and other head of states in Europe and Middle East. Peace in Syrian cannot be accomplished unless these countries and UN can challenge the Syrian dictator Assad militarily. Inaction is equivalent to support of the dictator and UN has the full responsiblity for the inaction and the ongoing carnage in Syria.

by: abel ogah from: OJU Nigeria
May 13, 2014 5:45 PM
Who is next to be appointed?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs