Putin Regrets UN Envoy Annan’s Resignation

Putin Regrets UN Envoy Annan’s Resignation

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he regrets Kofi Annan's resignation from the post of the UN and Arab League special envoy on Syria, but said he hopes the international community will keep trying to settle the situation in Syria, RIA Novosti reported.

"It is a great pity," Putin said when asked to comment on Annan's decision to quit the post.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said earlier Thursday that Annan is quitting the post of the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria. Ban said in a statement Annan had decided not to renew his mandate when it expires on August 31.

Ban also pointed out that the "spiral of violence in Syria is continuing," and that both the government of President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition forces "continue to demonstrate their determination to rely on ever-increasing violence."

Putin, who was on a one-day visit to London for talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, told journalists: "Kofi Annan is a very worthy man, a brilliant diplomat and a very honest person, so I regret [the resignation] very much. But I hope the international community continues its efforts to stop the violence."

Putin called the situation in Syria "a tragedy."

Annan was appointed the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria in February and authored a six-point peace plan aimed at ending the Syrian conflict.

International diplomatic efforts have failed to force the conflicting sides to stop the bloodshed and begin talks. Russia and China have three times vetoed Western draft resolutions on Syria fearing the repetition of "the Libyan scenario" in Syria.

Since March 2011, the Syrian conflict has claimed 14,000-20,000 lives, according to estimates by various Syrian opposition groups. The West is pushing for al-Assad's ouster, while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in Syria saying the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed.

Moscow regrets Annan's decision to leave the post, Vitaly Churkin, Russia's envoy to the United Nations, told journalists in New York on Thursday.

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