UNITED NATIONS, May 13 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Tuesday announced that he accepted the request of Lakhdar Brahimi to step down as the UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria, adding that the resignation will be effective on May 31.
"It is with great regret that following consultations with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, I have decided to accept the request of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi to relinquish his duties as a joint special representative of the secretary general and of the League of Arab States, effective 31st of May 2014," Ban said at a press conference here.
Brahimi was with the secretary-general as the Ban was making the announcement at the press conference. "Because of its nature, I want to make it in person," Ban said, referring to the announcement.
Brahimi, the former Algerian foreign minister and veteran UN official, was appointed by the secretary-general in August 2012 as the joint international envoy for Syria in a bid to mediate an early end to the crisis in the Middle East country, which broke out in March 2011.
Brahimi "faced almost impossible odds with the Syrian nation, Middle Eastern region, and ... international community that have been hopelessly divided in their approaches to ending the conflict, " the secretary-general said. "He has persevered with great patience and skill."
"I regret that the parties, especially the government, have proven so reluctant to take advantage of that opportunity to end the country's profound misery," Ban said.
Brahimi, at the joint press conference, said "It is very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state."
"I have absolutely no doubt that you (the secretary-general) will continue, as you have, to do everything that is humanly possible to work with the (UN) Security Council, with the neighbors of Syria, and indeed the Syrian parties themselves to end this crisis," Brahimi said.
"I am sure that the crisis will end," he said, asking those who have influence on the Syrian parties to ponder over the questions of "how many more deaths" and "how much more destruction" would be inflicted in the war-torn country.
For more than a year, Brahimi has made no secret that he is contemplating stepping down from the post as the UN and Arab League joint special representative for Syria. He told reporters a year ago that he thought about resigning every day.
Earlier this year, Brahimi has organized two rounds of negotiations in Geneva between the Syrian government and members of the opposition, the first time for the representatives of the warring two sides to sit in peace talks in Geneva since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in March 2011, but the peace talks failed to produce any positive result.
Two rounds of Syria peace talks, the first in January followed by a second round in February, saw both sides sticking to their positions without making substantial headway.
Brahimi's predecessor, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, resigned in frustration in August 2012. Like Brahimi, he complained that the UN Security Council could not unite behind his calls for an end to the violence and a peaceful political transition.
More than 100,000 people were killed and the UN estimates that some 6.3 million people have been internally displaced since the conflict broke out in March 2011 in the Middle East country. More than 2 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Ban said that at the moment, he has no plan to announce Brahimi 's successor.