U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice today revealed the read-out of the Council’s meeting with Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan.
Ms. Rice reported that the Joint Special Envoy reviewed for the Security Council his efforts so far to address the crisis in Syria.
Mr. Annan has expressed gratitude for the recent Presidential Statement and for the Security Council unity that it represented, Ms. Rice said.
Joint Special Envoy Annan emphasized the urgency of the situation and pressed the government to cease troop movements, cease the use of heavy weapons, and pull out of population centers during his discussions with the regime.
Reports say Syrian foreign minister sent Mr. Annan a letter yesterday, in which Mr. Annna sai the Syrian military will begin immediately, and by April 10th will complete, the cessation of all forward deployment and use of heavy weapons and will complete its withdrawal from population centers.
According to Ms. Rice, Mr. Annan wished that he had this confirmation of action sooner, that the April 10th deadline would ideally have been earlier than it is.
Mr. Anna also urged the government of Syria to start immediately and to ensure that forces move no further into population centers.
Mr. Annan is expecting details from the Syrian government very shortly on the other aspects of his Six-Point Plan, including key requests for humanitarian access, the two-hour daily humanitarian pause, as well as access for the media, and of course, the political process.
Mr. Annan’s deputy, Nassar al-Qidwa, has also had constructive exchanges with the opposition to urge them to cease their operations within 48 hours of a complete cessation of government hostilities, Ms. Rice stated.
Reports say DPKO team joined by some of Mr. Annan’s staff will travel again to Syria this week to continue preparations for a potential monitoring and supervisory mission of the UN.
Ms. Rice states that Mr. Annan asked the Security Council to support the April 10 deadline and, given the urgency of the situation, to begin consideration of a potential UN monitoring mission.
All members of the Security Council expressed full support for Joint Special Envoy Annan and called for his Six-Point Plan to be implemented immediately, including a political process leading to a transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people for democracy, a key point reiterated more than once by the Joint Special Envoy, Ms. Rice highlighted.
She notes that some members of the Security Council expressed concern that the government of Syria not use the next days to intensify the violence and expressed some skepticism about the bona fides of the government in this regard.
“But, in general, Council members expressed a willingness to consider Mr. Annan’s plan for a monitoring mission if indeed a cessation of violence is achieved.” -Ms. Rice
Earlier this year, Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary General, has appointed his predecessor, Kofi Annan, as international (UN-Arab League) Special Envoy to Syria. The UN comunique underscored that “The Special Envoy will provide good offices aimed atbringing an end to all violence and human rights violations, and promotinga peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis”
On his visit to Syria’s capital Damascus on March 12, Mr. Kofi Annan urges President Bashar al-Assad to embrace change and reforms.
He stresses that the transformational winds blowing today cannot be long-resisted.
Mr. Annan said his discussions with Mr. Assad focused on putting an urgent halt to the escalating violence, giving access to humanitarian agencies, and starting a political dialogue.
He presented a set of concrete proposals to President Assad as well which would have a real impact on the situation on the ground and will help launch a process aimed at putting an end to this crisis.
He also told the President that his main preoccupation is the welfare of the Syrian people.
Since the protests began on 26th January this year, the Assad regime’s violent response has lead to the death of more than 8,000 people. Many more have been injured, and thousands of protesters have been detained.