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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kofi Annan resigns as UN Special Peace Envoy to Syria

(CNN) -- Kofi Annan, whose initiative to forge peace in war-ravaged Syria failed to take hold, said he has resigned as the U.N. and Arab League joint special envoy because of "increasing militarization on the ground" and "the clear lack of unity" at the U.N. Security Council.

Annan said he told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El Araby that he didn't want to renew his mandate when it expires August 31.

Syria state-run TV said the nation "expresses regret for the resignation," and Ban said he and El Araby are looking for a successor to take on the "crucial peacemaking effort."

In Geneva, Annan said he accepted the job despite its challenges, a task that some had dubbed "Mission Impossible." He said it was a "sacred duty" to bring about peace, end the killings and abuse of civilians, and set a course toward political change.

"The severity of the humanitarian costs of the conflict, and the exceptional threats posed by this crisis to international peace and security, justified the attempts to secure a peaceful transition to a political settlement, however daunting the challenge. The increasing militarization on the ground and the clear lack of unity in the Security Council have fundamentally changed the circumstances for the effective exercise of my role," he said.

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