Kofi Annan, Syria, and the World
UN Envoy Kofi Annan with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
United Nations envoy Kofi Annan has been active in talking with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad about bringing an end to the hostilities between Syrian forces and the protesters; the result was a proposed peace agreement in which the Syrian government would prevent its troops from going into any cities and withdraw heavy weapons from urban areas. The date for the peace agreement set by United Nations is supposed to be April 10, although UN peacekeeping forces are expected to arrive in Syria before that date.
However, Kofi Annan reported to the UN Security Council that the Syrian government had yet to make any progress towards a ceasefire. The Syrian government has made partial concessions in regards to UN peacekeeping involvement, but “commitment is also expected from the opposition”, according to the Syrian representative to the UN.
Western powers, particularly the United States, have continually expressed their doubts about the efficacy and/or the legitimacy of Syrian government and leadership, as well as their outrage to the reported deaths of the Syrians. The UN has recorded the deaths of 9,000 people in Syria over the past year while Syrian rights activists estimate the death toll at more than 10,000.
In stark contrast to Turkey’s former relationship with the Syrian government, Turkey has condemned the crackdown efforts taken by President Al Assad and requested his resignation as soon as possible. On the other hand, Russia has criticized the peace plan proposed by the United Nations, claiming that the entire matter was something only of Syria’s concern. Naturally, any attempts to call for an enforcement of the peace agreement’s deadline through the Security Council have been shot down, courtesy of the veto power. Kofi Annan has also met with the Russian Foreign Minister to discuss the situation in Syria.
Whether and when Syria will ultimately make good on its promises regarding the peace agreement is anybody’s guess.