With the recent announcement by Syrian regime to cease all military actions, the United States today said it will be watching closely to see how things develop in the ground in the turmoil-hit country.
In her remarks at the Conclusion of the G-8 Ministerial, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the foreign ministers discussed the evolving situation in Syria during the meeting.
Ms. Clinton says they welcome the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s report that the violence in Syria, at least for the moment, has abated.
“If it holds, a ceasefire is an important step, but it represents just one element of the special envoy’s plan.” -Ms. Clinton
As Kofi Annan reported, the Assad regime has, so far, failed to comply with key obligations, Ms. Clinton stressed.
She says the regime’s troops and tanks have not pulled back from population centers.
She stresses that it remains to be seen if the regime will keep its pledge to permit peaceful demonstrations, open access for humanitarian aid and journalists, and begin a political transition.
“The Annan plan is not a menu of options. It is a set of obligations.” -Ms. Clinton
The burden of fully and visibly meeting all of these obligations continues to rest with the regime, she noted.
The Syrian regime cannot pick and choose, she stressed.
For it to be meaningful, this apparent halt in violence must lead to a credible political process and a peaceful, inclusive, democratic transition, she highlighted.
“The United States will be watching closely to see how things develop.” -Ms. Clinton
The United States is particularly interested in seeing what the developments on the ground are, and the US government is in contact with members of the opposition.
The United States remain firmly resolved that the regime’s war against its own people must end for good and a political transition must begin, Ms. Clinton underlined.
“Assad will have to go, and the Syrian people must be given the chance to chart their own future.” -Ms. Clinton
Given the Assad regime’s record of broken promises, the international community and the G-8 countries are proceeding, understandably, with caution.
Ms. Clinton stresses that the ministers agreed to remain in close contact in the hours and days ahead.
US representatives in New York are consulting on a potential UN monitoring mission that would go to Syria under the right authorities, circumstances, and conditions, she cited.
The United States supports sending an advance team immediately to begin this work, Ms. Clinton added.
“And both will need complete freedom of movement, unimpeded communications, and access throughout the country and to all Syrians, as well as firm security guarantees from all parties.” -Ms. Clinton
However, she notes that sporadic fighting continues in parts of Syria, Assad has not complied with the six points of the Kofi Annan plan.
Assad’s forces have not pulled back, and he has not taken any action on any of the other points, she said.
“So our first imperative is to test the commitment.” -Ms. Clinton
US teams are working in New York on a UN Security Council resolution that calls for Assad to fully comply with all points in the Annan plan and that supports Kofi Annan’s request to send a UN advance team to Syria immediately to prepare the way for a full, robust international monitoring mission, Ms. Clinton announced.
She says the monitoring mission will only be a force for peace and security if it enjoys the full freedom of action within Syria.
“That means freedom of movement, secure communications, a large enough ground presence to bear witness to the enforcement of the six-point plan in every part of Syria.” -Ms. Clinton
The G-8 ministers are working together to try to enforce, in practical terms, the commitments that the Assad regime claims to have made, Ms. Clinton said.
Yesterday, the Syrian government has informed Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States Kofi Annan that it will cease all military fighting throughout Syrian territory today.
Syrian government has ceased military actions as of 6:00 a.m. (Damascus time) on Thursday, 12 April 2012.
Last week, the Syrian Government told Mr. Annan that it would 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.
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.
Mr. Annan’s six-point plan to end the violence was submitted during his visit to Damascus last month.
On 27th of March, Mr. Annan reported that the Syrian government had accepted the six point-plan and pledged to implement it.
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.