No more Annan: Kofi Annan, the diplomat tasked by both the United Nations and the Arab League with ending the violence in Syria, has decided to resign his post. Annan had proposed a peace plan for the country, but the first step of that plan—a ceasefire—fell apart within days, and his subsequent efforts to quell the violence failed. This departure may tarnish Annan’s legacy…but it shouldn’t. Absolutely nobody has been able to make any headway whatsoever in resolving the Syrian mess; the violence has perpetuated for sixteen months, and even seems to be getting worse as of late. Perhaps Annan could have come up with a different or better plan, but there’s little reason to expect that would have worked, either. When you can’t even get two sides of a conflict to stop shooting each other, it’s hard to expect a political dialogue to take hold. source
The least that can be said about this letter about what happened in Tremseh is that it did not rely on facts. As diplomatically as possible, we say that this letter was very rushed.Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdissi • Disputing claims made by United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan that the country used heavy weaponry in an attack in Tremseh earlier this week. The casualty count in the attack also differs greatly — Syria says 37 of its fighters, along with two civilians, died. Meanwhile, activists claim the number is more likely 100 to 220. UN monitors confirmed heavy fighting took place in the village on Thursday.
The evidence shows that we have not succeeded.Former UN general secretary Kofi Annan, giving the bleak truth right from his own mouth — his Syria peace plan, which the Assad government ostensibly agreed to in April, has had little to no meaningful effect. Violence and killings have continued unabated, leaving conditions within Syria so dangerous that the UN’s monitor team was forced to suspend operations.
U.N. observers will not be conducting patrols and will stay in their locations until further notice. Engagement with the parties will be restricted. This suspension will be reviewed on a daily basis.Major General Robert Mood, of Norway • Announcing the suspension of the UN observer team in Syria, which had been acting in accordance with the Kofi Annan peace plan. The team itself is some 300 strong, but has been stymied and threatened at various turns when trying to enter areas beset by clashes between Syrian governmental forces and those of the opposition; on Thursday, they entered the besieged town of al-Haffeh only after days of being held at bay by fighting. The violence the team has observed is, in fact, not supposed to be happening – the Kofi Annan plan, which the Assad government agreed to, called for a cease-fire between the government and opposition. But that never materialized, lending credence to a longstanding opposition claim that Assad’s diplomatic maneuvering was an insincere attempt to buy himself time. source (via • follow)
We have a timeline in mind to see if this effort of Kofi’s can be successful. The outer limit of that is mid-July when the security council has to decide whether or not to extend the mission. Certainly if there is no discernible movement by then it will be very difficult to extend a mission that is increasingly dangerous for the observers on the ground.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton • Speaking on the Kofi Annan peace plan, which to date has been a thoroughly unsuccessful exercise, saying the U.S. will wait until mid-July (when the UN security council would have to vote to extend the effort) to assess, thus giving the former UN secretary-general’s plan a bit more time. After a nearly uninterrupted stretch of intensely destructive violence, however, all in spite of the ostensibly agreed-to terms of the deal, it’s become quite hard not to assume the Annan plan in mid-July will look precisely how it does now — largely ignored, and sorely ineffective. source (via • follow)
I urge the Government to take bold steps to signal that it is serious in its intention to resolve this crisis peacefully, and for everyone involved to help create the right context for a credible political process. And this message of peace is not only for the Government, but for everyone with a gun.UN Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan • Speaking in the wake of the undisputedly brutal Syrian massacre over the weekend, which killed over 100 people, many of them children. (ht Al Jazeera English)
» The reports are unverified, to be clear. Which means we suppose the number could be a bit higher, or a bit lower. That can feel like a coldly academic way to examine this, we admit, considering how many people have already died during the last year of upheaval in Syria; the UN estimates that 9,000 Syrians have died since March 2011. This surge in killings (and shelling against the city of Hama, in particular) is what many observers feared regarding the Assad government’s agreement to accept a peace deal orchestrated by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan – with a set deadline for ending the violence in sight, it can be used as a license to step up the bloodshed until the date requiring a full ceasefire, April 12th.
The battle to topple the state is over, and the battle to solidify stability… and move on towards a renewed Syria has begun.Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi • From an interview with Syria’s state-run television channel. The Syrian opposition isn’t so keen on this declaration, however — while opponents of the government have been forced to cede ground in recent weeks, there’s no real sign the anti-Assad fervor is dying down. Rebel groups have continued to urge foreign states to provide them with arms and munitions, while the United States and Arab League states continue to wait, hanging their hopes on the Syrian peace plan engineered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Present UN estimates suggest the death toll in Syria, since the beginning of anti-government uprisings just over one year ago, now tops 9,000. source (via • follow)
This could be the last chance for Syria to avoid a prolonged and bloody civil war. We very much hope your work will end with a positive result.Russian President Dmitri Medvedev • Discussing the role that UN special envoy Kofi Annan will play in attempting to ease tensions in Syria. Annan is leading a peace mission that hopes to end the Syrian conflict. Annan hopes to getting both Russia and China to take a firmer stance against their ally. Both countries have shown support to the Assad regime, blocking measures to criticize the Syrian leader, but each has shown support for Annan’s peace mission. The Kremlin recently said that little would get done as long as outside countries continued to offer the Syrian opposition political and military support.
She will be remembered as a committed champion of the environment, sustainable development, women’s rights, and democracy.Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan • Speaking about Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai, who died Sunday of ovarian cancer at age 71. Maathai, a Kenyan, founded the Green Belt Movement, an organization that encouraged methods of sustainable development. Her work with the Green Belt Movement, which spanned over 30 years, led to her winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. “We need people who love Africa so much that they want to protect her from destructive processes,” she noted in a 2005 speech. “There are simple actions we can take. Start by planting 10 trees we each need to absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale. Get involved in local initiatives and volunteer your time for services in your community.” This world needs more people like her, not less. Based on the strong response on Twitter today, lots of people agree. source (via • follow)