JERUSALEM – International Mideast envoy James Wolfensohn plans to step down when his term ends at the end of the month.
Wolfensohn, a former president of the World Bank, has been serving as an envoy for the "Quartet" of Mideast mediators since last June. The Quartet, the sponsor of the "road map" peace plan, includes the U.S., European Union, United Nations and Russia.
"His mandate ends at the end of the month. He has no plans of continuing," his office said Friday.
Wolfensohn's efforts focused on rebuilding the Gaza Strip after Israel's withdrawal last year.
During his tenure, Wolfensohn helped negotiate several agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. They included transferring control of the Rafah border crossing in southern Gaza to the Palestinians, a deal to improve the flow of goods in and out of Gaza, and the purchase of dozens of greenhouses from Israeli settlers for Palestinian use.
These efforts, however, hit repeated obstacles, and in some cases, the agreements were not honored.
Officials had discussed the possibility of extending Wolfensohn's term. But diplomatic officials said he had decided not to continue in the wake of the establishment of the new Hamas-led Palestinian government.
The Quartet has called on Hamas to renounce violence, recognize Israel and honor past peace agreements. Hamas has rejected these demands, greatly limiting Wolfensohn's ability to continue work, the diplomats said.
Wolfensohn has accepted a senior advisory position at Citigroup Corp.