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Special Envoy for the Arab League and the United Nations to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has resigned from his post leaving the conflict raging into a fourth year with no clear end in sight.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced on Tuesday that Brahimi faced “almost impossible odds” to bring the two warring factions – the Bashar Al-Assad led government and the rebel factions fighting to remove him and his regime from power – to the negotiating table.
The Geneva-II peace conference last January took nearly a year of difficult diplomatic see-sawing to put together.
Delegations from a few opposition groups met with Assad’s delegates in Geneva under the auspices of the US, Russia, the EU and the UN.
But within weeks, the talks appeared on the brink of collapse. A deal, however, was brokered to evacuate more than a thousand people from the besieged Syrian city of Homs, the third largest in the country.
Ban said that Brahimi “faced almost impossible odds with the Syrian nation, Middle Eastern region, and wider international community that have been hopelessly divided in their approaches to ending the conflict”.
In previous months and with almost no progress reported since the Geneva-II Conference began in January, Brahimi criticized world powers for their disagreements on how to end the bloody Syrian civil war and said these were among the reasons peace talks stalled between the Damascus government and a coalition of rebel groups.
Brahimi also said that the government of Bashar Al-Assad refused to discuss the formation of a transitional government unless “terrorism” was first addressed.
Syria says it has been fighting a regional war against extremist terrorism.
For his part, Ban blamed the divisiveness in the Security Council and countries with influence on the fighting sides.
He added that Brahimi will step down May 31, but no new envoy has yet been announced.
Last week, the Arab League and the United Nations agreed to work together in a bid to revive efforts to end the Syrian conflict by resuming talks in Geneva between the warring sides.
Ban met with his counterpart Nabil Araby in Abu Dhabi and released a joint statement in which “they also both expressed their concern at the continuing violence and humanitarian situation in the country”.