Lakhdar Brahimi resigns as UN-Arab League mediator in Syria

Resignation comes amid frustration with President Assad who ignored envoy’s proposal for talks

Lakhdar Brahimi, the veteran UN mediator tapped to help broker a political settlement in Syria, resigned yesterday, signalling the bleak prospects for peace in a conflict that has gone on for more than three years and claimed more than 150,000 lives.

“I have decided to accept the request of Lakhdar Brahimi to relinquish his duties,” secretary-general Ban Ki-moon told reporters at a briefing at the UN, with Brahimi beside him.

Mr Ban said the resignation was effective at the end of May. “Mr Brahimi has long been recognised as one of the world’s most brilliant diplomats,” Mr Ban said, describing the resignation as a collective failure. Mr Brahimi and told reporters the resignation “was not a very pleasant situation for me”. His resignation came amid rising frustration with President Bashar Assad of Syria, who ignored Mr Brahimi’s proposed agenda for talks and then scheduled a presidential election that will probably install him for another seven-year term.

Top UN officials had expressed dismay at the move, saying the election would probably sabotage any further diplomacy.

Mr Brahimi told the security council in mid-March that he saw no reason for staying on if Assad went ahead with a vote.

– (New York Times service)