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Entries in Kofi Annan (25)

Friday
Aug172012

UN Settles On New Envoy for Syria

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations is still on a mission to help establish a Syria without conflict and violence, and has appointed a new envoy for the embattled nation.

To ease the conflict in Syria, the UN and the League of Arab States said Friday they will deploy former Algerian foreign minister Lakhdar Brahimi as a peace envoy to replace former Secretary General Kofi Annan.  Brahimi was formerly a UN envoy to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Annan announced his resignation earlier this month, saying divisions in the Security Council were hindering peace efforts.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Friday that the Obama Administration supports the decision.

"Mr. Brahimi is a capable and seasoned diplomat, well-known to us and tother in the international community.  We look forward to continuing to work closely with the UN to support and put an end to the bloodshed in Syria and the advancement of a Syrian-led and internationally-supported political transition," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the White House in welcoming Brahimi in his new role, but first thanked Annan for taking on "the serious task of trying to bring an end to the brutal violence" and forging the "path toward a peaceful transition and a post-Assad Syria."

"We are grateful for Mr. Annan's service," Clinton said in a statement Friday.

"My message to Special Representative Brahimi is simple: The United States stands ready to support you and secure a lasting peace that upholds the legitimate aspirations for a representative government of the people of Syria. And to the Syrian people: you are not alone," she said.

As Special Representative for Syria, Brahimi is expected to assume his duties following the expiration of Annan’s mandate on Aug. 31.

The mandate for the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) is expected to be allowed to expire Sunday by the Security Council, but the U.N. says it is working to keep its presence on the ground, through a liaison office that will continue to support the Special Representative’s efforts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug032012

White House Blames China, Russia for Syrian Peace Failure

Jason Kempin/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- The White House blamed Russia and China on Thursday for the failure of Kofi Annan’s peace mission in Syria.

Annan formally announced on Thursday he would step down as special envoy to Syria at the end of the month.  Despite his intense diplomatic efforts over the last year, including trips to Syria and constant contact with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his mission failed to halt the bloodshed in Syria.  Instead, the conflict is increasing with an all-out battle now developing over Syria’s largest city, Aleppo.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Annan’s efforts were disrupted by the break of international unity against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Annan’s resignation highlights the failure of the United Nations Security Council, of Russia and China, to support resolutions -- gainful resolutions -- that would have held Assad accountable for his failure to abide by his commitments under the Annan plan,” Carney said.

While thanking Annan for his service, America’s ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, also primarily blamed the Security Council for the failure of Annan’s mission.  Russia and China have vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that called for tougher actions against the Assad regime three times.

“When the Security Council failed to heed Mr. Annan’s repeated calls for collective and significant consequences for non-compliance with its prior resolutions, those members who blocked this action effectively made Mr. Annan’s mission impossible,” said Rice in a statement.

But in an op-ed to the Financial Times, Annan blamed Russia, China as well as the U.S. and its allies.  He said that both sides became too entrenched in their positions.

“It takes leadership to compromise to overcome the destructive lure of national rivalries,” said Annan.  “Joint action requires bilateral and collective efforts by all countries with influence over the actors on the ground in Syria, to press upon the parties that a political solution is essential.”

He advised that for a peaceful solution to the bloodshed, Russia, China and Iran have to persuade Syria’s leadership to “change course and embrace a political transition.”

He didn’t explicitly call for Assad to step down but said, “The current government has lost all legitimacy.”

Annan also agreed with the U.S. position that the first move must be made by the government to accept his six-point peace plan which includes ending the violence and beginning a political transition.

But Annan also had advice for the United States and its allies about what they need to do to have peace in Syria, saying that they have to press the opposition to “embrace a fully inclusive political process,” a process that will include elements of the Assad regime.

“This also means recognizing that the future of Syria rises and falls on more than the fate of just one man,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug022012

Kofi Annan Resigns as UN Special Envoy to Syria

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/GettyImages(UNITED NATIONS) -- Kofi Annan, the United Nations-Arab League joint special envoy to Syria, will resign at the end of the month, the UN announced Thursday.

Annan failed to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to step aside and became caught in a dispute between the United States and Russia that has kept the U.N. Security Council from doing anything to punish Syria for the unchecked killing of civilians.

“Tragically, the spiral of violence in Syria is continuing,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement Thursday, accepting Annan’s resignation. “The hand extended to turn away from violence in favour of dialogue and diplomacy - as spelled out in the Six-Point Plan - has not been not taken, even though it still remains the best hope for the people of Syria. Both the Government and the opposition forces continue to demonstrate their determination to rely on ever-increasing violence. In addition, the persistent divisions within the Security Council have themselves become an obstacle to diplomacy, making the work of any mediator vastly more difficult.

“The UN remains committed to pursue through diplomacy an end to the violence and a Syrian-led solution that meets the legitimate democratic aspirations of its people. This can only succeed – indeed any peacemaking effort can only prosper – when the parties to the violence make a firm commitment to dialogue, and when the international community is strongly united in support,” ” the secretary general continued.

The White House, meanwhile, is refusing to comment on reports that say President Obama signed an intelligence directive to further support Syrian rebels in secret – support that reportedly does not include weapons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul092012

Kofi Annan Has 'Constructive' Talk with Syrian President on Violence

Jason Kempin/FilmMagic(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Just days after admitting his six-point peace plan for Syria had failed, United Nations special emissary Kofi Annan says he had a very "candid and constructive" discussion with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Speaking to reporters in Damascus on Monday before leaving Syria, Annan said he and al-Assad reached an agreement on how to end the violence that activists say has claimed some 17,000 lives.

"We agreed on a approach which we would also share with the armed, which I will share with the armed opposition," Annan said.  He wouldn't provide further details.

"They reassured me of the government's commitment to the six-point plan which of course we should move ahead to implement in a much better fashion than has been the situation so far," Annan added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun182012

UN Monitors Halt Mission to Check Compliance of Syrian Ceasefire Pact

JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- The decision by the United Nations to suspend its observer mission in Syria because of safety concerns has angered opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Initially, the monitors were sent in to check on the implementation of the six-point ceasefire crafted by special emissary Kofi Annan.  However, the failure of the plan to be carried out, particularly by government forces, left Gen. Robert Mood, who heads the U.N. supervision mission in Syria, no other recourse but to pull the observers out of the country.

In response to the move, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said in a statement, "The decision of the U.N. supervision mission in Syria to suspend the monitoring mission represents a failure of...the international community to effectively and responsibly deal with the situation in Syria."

Furthermore, the LCC said that the suspension suggests the U.N. has no backup plan, which "allows for more bloodshed and enables the regime to buy more time under international cover."

Al-Assad's government contends that the ceasefire didn't work because of "armed terrorist groups" bent on disrupting his nation's social order.

The crackdown on political dissidents began in March 2011 and by estimates of Syrian opposition groups, anywhere between 12,000 and 14,000 people have died in the fighting.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun082012

New Massacre in Syria Pushes UN to the Edge

Jason Kempin/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Responding to reports of another large-scale massacre of civilians in Syria, United Nations special emissary Kofi Annan told the Security Council Thursday that action must be taken quickly to stop President Bashar al-Assad's forces or else the crisis will "spiral out of control."

So far, the Council has supported Annan's ceasefire pact, passed two resolutions to put monitors on the ground in Syria and condemned the 15-month cycle of violence that has cost an estimated 13,000 lives as al-Assad desperately tries to hold onto power.

News that dozens of civilians were found slain Wednesday in the country’s northern Hama province, an apparent massacre that called to mind the recent slaughter of more than 100 civilians in Houla, may have been the last straw for the international community.

The Security Council members went into a meeting after Annan urged them to apply "united" and "substantial" pressure on al-Assad to end his government’s crackdown on dissidents who the president claims have been incited by outside "terrorists."

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council that the 300 observers checking to see if both sides are complying with the ceasefire pact are in serious jeopardy from heavy weapons, armor-piercing bullets and surveillance drones.

Syrian forces are using what they can to chase monitors away from areas where they've been accused of staging attacks on civilians, according to Ban Ki-Moon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May312012

Syrian Ceasefire Pact in Tatters, US Worries Conflict Could Escalate

JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- United Nations special emissary Kofi Annan's appeal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to take "bold steps" to end the violence in his country has fallen on deaf ears.

With no guarantee from al-Assad that the 15-month-long crackdown on his enemies would stop, Annan left Damascus on Wednesday with his six-point ceasefire plan in virtual tatters.

A massacre of more than 100 villagers in the central Syrian town of Houla late last week has galvanized world opinion against al-Assad's government, but without muscle to back it up, the fighting on both sides continues unabated.  There was also a report Wednesday of U.N. observers discovering the bodies of 13 people who were killed execution-style.

With Annan having flown to Jordan, the U.N. Security Council received a briefing from one of Annan's deputies about the lack of progress made since the ceasefire pact went into effect on April 12.

Afterwards, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said the breakdown of any coherent plan to stop the violence that has accounted for anywhere between 9,000 and 12,000 deaths since March 2011 could escalate into a wider sectarian conflict that would draw in Syria's neighbors, turning it into a major regional war.

Despite the threat of putting more pressure on al-Assad to end the violence, Rice acknowledged that some within the U.N. Security Council are reluctant to impose more sanctions on Syria.  The likely opponents are al-Assad's allies, Russia and China.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May092012

Kofi Annan Giving Up Hope Syria's Ceasefire Will Work

Jason Kempin/FilmMagic(GENEVA) -- Signaling growing frustration with his ceasefire plan's inability to bring about much peace in Syria, United Nations special emissary Kofi Annan admitted on Tuesday that unless the truce begins producing concrete results soon, "the country could otherwise descend into full civil war."

Annan's gloomy prediction is especially significant because he has up to now expressed optimism about the six-point plan finally ending the 14-month-long government crackdown that has left between 9,000 and 11,000 people dead.

Speaking in Geneva, Annan, the former U.N. secretary general, acknowledged that putting 300 observers on the ground in Syria "is the only remaining chance to stabilize the country."

Annan told the Security Council that violence and abuse still pervades Syrian cities with government forces and heavy artillery still occupying populated areas four weeks since President Bashar al-Assad agreed to abide by his peace agreement.

There have been reports of dozens of deaths daily during that time span, with rebels also guilty of breaking the tenuous truce.

If this pattern of violence continues, Annan revealed, "We may well conclude down the line that it doesn’t work and a different tack has to be taken, and that will be a very sad day, and a tough day for the region."

He did not suggest what the next move by the international community might be, with some calling for military intervention or at least the arming of opposition forces.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr252012

Kofi Annan Acknowledges Weaknesses in Syrian Ceasefire Pact

Jason Kempin/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Kofi Annan is seeing his plan to bring peace to Syria crumble before his eyes.

Less than two weeks after President Bashar al-Assad and Syrian rebels agreed to the United Nations special emissary's six-point ceasefire proposal, Annan admitted to the Security Council on Tuesday that the year-long violence has barely dissipated.

There are just six U.N. monitors on the ground in Syria and once they leave a city, the fighting resumes, mostly with the government bombarding opposition targets.  There have also been reports of soldiers firing on people who've spoken directly with the monitors.

On Monday alone, 70 people were killed, with the majority of fatalities in the city of Hama.  Annan called the violence "reprehensible and unacceptable."

Satellite imagery also reveals the Syrian government has not followed one of the plan's directives to remove heavy weapons from urban centers.

Last weekend, the Security Council agreed to boost the number of observers to 300, but there are concerns from the U.S. and Europe on how to keep the monitors out of harm's way.

Estimates of the number of dead in Syria over the past 13 months range from 9,000 to more than 11,000.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr232012

Kofi Annan Hopes 300 UN Monitors Will Solidify Syria Ceasefire Pact

Jason Kempin/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- United Nations special emissary Kofi Annan has faith that the 300 ceasefire monitors for Syria approved by the Security Council is a turning point in the long conflict that has cost thousands of lives.

For the past week, a handful of observers has tried to get an idea if the Syrian government is adhering to Annan's six-point plan to end the 13-month crackdown on President Bashar al-Assad's political foes.

Up to now, the ceasefire has only resulted in a slowdown of hostilities, with each side blaming the other for breaking the peace.

Annan said on Sunday that the deployment of 300 monitors is a "pivotal moment for the stabilization of the country" and hopes it spurs government and opposition forces to finally stop the fighting that has led to more than 11,000 fatalities, according to one human rights group.

In a statement, Annan stated, "The work of the Mission should help create the conditions conducive to launching the much-needed political process, which would address the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the Syrian people."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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