(Reuters) – Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is quitting as international peace envoy for Syria, frustrated by “finger-pointing” at the United Nations while the armed rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad becomes increasingly bloody.
As battles raged on Thursday in Syria’s second city Aleppo between rebel fighters and government forces using war planes and artillery, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced in New York that Annan had said he would go at the end of the month.
“Kofi Annan deserves our profound admiration for the selfless way in which he has put his formidable skills and prestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments,” Ban said. Talks were under way to find a successor.
Annan’s mission, centered on an April ceasefire that never took hold, has looked irrelevant as fighting has intensified in Damascus, Aleppo and elsewhere.
Annan blamed “finger-pointing and name-calling” at the U.N. Security Council for his decision to quit but suggested his successor may have better luck.
Russia, the United States, Britain and France began pointing fingers at each other over who was responsible for Annan’s sudden announcement that he would depart. One senior council diplomat said it was now time to acknowledge the “utter irrelevance of an impotent Security Council” on Syria.
Syria expressed regret that Annan was going.
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