Aug. 2 - Annan described his position as a mediator to Syria as 'impossible' and blamed 'finger pointing' inside the U.N. for his decision to step down. Deborah Gembara reports.
Kofi Annan is stepping down. The U.N.-Arab League mediator on Syria made the announcement on Thursday. SOUNDBITE: KOFI ANNAN, U.N.-ARAB LEAGUE SPECIAL ENVOY, SAYING: "I do not intend to continue my mission when my mandate expires at the end of August." The former U.N. Secretary General expressed frustration over a job he characterized as 'impossible.' Violence in Syria -- most recently in Aleppo and now in the capital Damascus --- has spiraled over the past few months. Multiple trips to Damascus appeared to do little to halt the killing of civilians including children in several cities. Speaking to reporters in Switzerland, Annan did not hide his frustration. SOUNDBITE: Kofi Annan, U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy, Saying: "At a time when we need, when the Syrian people desperately need action, there continues to be finger-pointing and name-calling in the Security Council." Following the announcement, France's ambassador Gerard Araud said divisions within the Security Council are beyond repair. SOUNDBITE: GERARD ARAUD, FRENCH U.N. AMBASSADOR, SAYING: "Unfortunately the divisions of the council are very, very deep. I think it's irreconcilable on political terms. We will try to regroup the council at least around the humanitarian situation. We do hope that there couldn't be a division about the fact that we shouldn't help millions of Syrians who are suffering. I hope." The anti-Assad uprising -- now in its 17 month -- has claimed an estimated 18,000 lives. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.