After nearly six months of fruitless negotiations, Kofi Annan announced that he is stepping down as the United Nations' envoy to Syria. In what reporters described as a press conference filled with bitterness and regret, the former U.N. secretary-general criticized the Syrian government, Western powers and the Syrian rebels for the diplomatic stalemate in Syria.
“I accepted this task, which some called ‘Mission Impossible,’ for I believed it was a sacred duty to do whatever was in my power to help the Syrian people find a peaceful solution to this bloody conflict,” he said. Yet, "without serious, purposeful and united international pressure, including from the powers of the region, it is impossible for me, or anyone, to compel the Syrian government in the first place, and also the opposition, to take the steps necessary to begin a political process.”
He complemented the press conference with an Op-Ed piece in the Financial Times, which includes our quote of the day:
“It is clear that President Bashar al-Assad must leave office. The greater focus, however, must be on measures and structures to secure a peaceful long-term transition to avoid a chaotic collapse. This is the most serious issue. The international community must shoulder its share of responsibility.”