The United Nations and Arab League envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi may be on the verge of quitting, frustrated by the relentless efforts of President Bashar Assad’s foes on seeking “regime change” in Damascus, instead of a diplomatic solution to end the festering crisis.
The website of Al Manar, affiliated with the Lebanese Hizbollah is reporting that Mr. Brahimi is likely to resign following his differences with the Arab League over Syria. The website cited the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS as saying that in his report to the UN Security Council that would be tabled on April 18; Mr. Brahimi will voice his serious disagreements with the League.
During the Doha summit on March 26-27, the Arab League decided to handover Syria’s seat to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSROF), despite rejection of the resolution by Algeria and Iraq, and an abstention by Lebanon. The move piloted by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has been highly contentious.
Observers say that the decision lacks legality as a change in national membership of a country is possible only if all the 22 members of the League take a unanimous view.
The decision that was seemingly bulldozed by the League has delivered a big blow to a search for a political resolution of the crisis, based on dialogue between the Syrian opposition and the government. In the
words of Rim Turkmani, an opposition leader who belongs to the non-violent Building the Syrian State Movement, the prospects of a diplomatic solution have dimmed sharply because the NCSROF’s charter states “ unequivocally that there can be no negotiations and no dialogue with the regime”.
The summit had also green-lighted the transfer of weapons to the Syrian opposition by pointing out in its final document that “each member state of the Arab League has the right to supply defensive means as it so wishes — including military defence — to support the resistance of the Syrian people and the Free Syrian Army (the armed wing of the Syrian opposition)”.
Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov had slammed the League’s position, which, in his view meant that the grouping had “renounced peaceful settlement,” of the conflict. He stressed that the League’s position had undermined the June 30 Geneva accord, which had anchored a road map for Syria’s political transition.
Commenting on Mr. Brahimi’s possible resignation, Russian deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov wrote in his blog that the departure of the veteran Algerian diplomat from his post “will produce a negative impact on efforts to settle the conflict in that country”.
“(Mr.) Brahimi wants to have cooperation of all parties in the conflict but the opposition has not yet agreed to his proposals.”
Without naming specific countries, Mr. Gatilov pointed out that some “external players are obviously not interested in this cooperation”.
In case he resigns, Mr. Brahimi would be following the footsteps of his celebrated predecessor, Kofi Annan. Mr. Annan, the former U.N. Secretary General had put in his papers last year, frustrated by the
lack of a concrete follow-up in the Security Council to the Geneva accord, which had been endorsed by all the concerned parties including the United States. Later in an op-ed in the Financial Times, Mr. Annan wrote: “We left the meeting (in Geneva) believing a Security Council resolution endorsing the group’s decision was assured… Instead, there has been finger-pointing and name-calling in the Security Council.”