The resignation of Kofi Annan has left a question mark over the future of the UN observers in Syria. His criticism of the Security Council’s lack of consensus is widely thought to have been directed at China and Russia who’ve vetoed three resolutions on Syria.
Reacting to the news Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “It’s very regrettable that he’s resigning”. Kofi Annan is a very respectable man, a brilliant diplomat and a very decent man. But I hope that the efforts of the international community will be continue to be focussed on ending the violence.”
Kofi Annan’s mission in Syria was always going to be a difficult one, and there are those who say he could never have succeeded. Jon Alterman is from the Center for Strategic and International Studies: “In many ways Annan’s resignation confirms what we knew which is that there’s no possibility of having the Assad government make a deal to solve this conflict.”
The mission’s mandate expires on the 19th of August and is unlikely to be renewed. That is causing frustration for Syrian opposition groups who would like to see the UN take much stronger actions than just sanctions.
“The only remaining course is to look for a solution outside the UN Security Council”, said Monzer Makhous of the Syrian National Council. “And I repeat that this can only be the creation of protected zones with no-fly zones and with aerial exclusion zones.”
The United Nations General Assembly is now due to vote on a resolution condemning its own Security Council for failing to stop the violence in Syria. But it will not be legally binding and will make little difference to the fighting in the war-torn country.