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Syria mediator is determined to resign, U.N. diplomats say
May 1, 2013 / 10:22 PM / in 5 years

Syria mediator is determined to resign, U.N. diplomats say

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - International Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi is determined to resign because he is fed up with the deadlock over how to end the country’s two-year civil war and believes his role has been compromised, U.N. diplomats said on Wednesday.

International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi is seen during a meeting with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby during their meeting in Cairo February 17, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Brahimi was persuaded to hang on for a “few more days” at least before quitting his joint U.N. and Arab League role and possibly being reappointed as an adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Syria, a senior U.N. diplomat said.

Brahimi, appointed last year after former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan resigned as Syria mediator, wants to distance himself from the Arab League, envoys said, because of its decision last month to recognize Syria’s opposition. Brahimi felt the move undermined his neutrality.

Syria’s government last week accused Brahimi of bias and interference after he criticized its response to an opposition offer of talks and suggested Bashar al-Assad should not stand again for president.

“He’s pretty determined (to resign),” the senior U.N. diplomat said of Brahimi, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “He seems to be prepared to wait a week or so ... All the people involved want him to stay.”

“He feels like the Arab League have taken themselves in a direction which is a bit different from the U.N. and it’s very difficult for him to do both jobs,” the diplomat said.

There have been rumors for months that Brahimi was ready to quit due to his frustration over the failure of the United States and Russia to overcome their differences on Syria. That dispute has left the U.N. Security Council deadlocked and incapable of taking meaningful action on Syria because Washington and Moscow are veto-wielding permanent members.

Annan, voiced similar frustration when he resigned in August. Like Brahimi, he complained that the Security Council could not unite behind his calls for an end to the violence and a peaceful political transition.

When asked about Brahimi’s plans, Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky referred to comments by the veteran Algerian diplomat last month. Brahimi said: “Every day I wake up and think I should resign. One day perhaps I will.”

Brahimi met U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington on Monday. A State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Kerry had “reiterated our support for his mission despite the challenging circumstances.”

Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Arshad Mohammed; editing by Christopher Wilson

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