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International Envoy To Syria Lakhdar Brahimi Will Step Down

U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi during a news conference in Geneva.
Martial Trezzini EPA/Landov
U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi during a news conference in Geneva.

Without making any progress toward ending Syria's civil war, Lakhdar Brahimi will step down as the international envoy to Syria.

Brahimi's nearly two years in the post ends in much the same way that it did for his predecessor Kofi Annan, who stepped down in the summer of 2012 after his peace plan failed to take hold.

Brahimi and the international community tried to bring President Bashar Assad and the rebels to the negotiating table in Geneva several times. Back in January, the two sides did make it to the same room, but nothing significant came out of it.

Since then, the Syrian government appears to have taken the upper hand in the conflict. That was most evident when rebels gave up their stronghold of Homs in a ceasefire deal with the government.

In a short televised statement, Brahimi said he expected that there would be an end to the conflict.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon did not hide his disappointment, saying he had not decided on a replacement and conceding that the two high-profile envoys had "not been able to make any progress."

Ban blamed strong divisions both inside Syria and at the U.N., where Western powers have been unable to sway Russia into signing on to any sanctions or actions against Assad.

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