With the recent massacre in Houla drawing widespread condemnation, speculations now begin to surface if the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States Kofi Annan’s peace plan for Syria is already dead?
On her remarks at the Security Council Stakeout, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice said the US government certainly agree with Kofi Annan that this is a moment where they have reached, in effect, the tipping point, with the massacre in Houla in the weekend being the most recent manifestation of that reality.
“I think we may be beginning to see the wheels coming off of this bus. And that means that what happens next and the steps that are taken by the Syrian authorities and by this Council could well be dispositive.” -Ms. Rice
UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras
She says the reality is hard to see that there are any more than three potential outcomes at this stage.
Ms. Rice stresses that the political process which is so crucial to the success of any transition, which is the purpose of the Annan plana is thwarted by the ongoing, escalating, expanding violence perpetrated by the government.
She notes that reality that the opposition cannot possibly be expected to come to the table while the violence is intensifying, escalating, and the government is lying about it.
Ms. Rice cited three outcomes that are as follows:
She cites the first and best outcome would be for the government of Syria to finally and immediately implement its commitments under the Annan plan as it’s obliged to do under UN Security Council resolutions.
She explains that that is what Kofi Annan is pressing for, and that is the surest and best way for this to get back on track and for there to be still a live prospect of a political solution.
“At this point, however, that does not seem to be a high probability scenario.” -Ms. Rice
The second scenario would be in the absence of that happening very quickly, that the government fulfills its commitments would be for this Council to assume its responsibilities and to put additional pressure on the Syrian authorities to meet its commitments, she stated.
She adds that pressure could include sanctions of the sort that have been alluded to and discussed
“Now, in either of those first two scenarios, the Annan plan survives, the unity of the Council is preserved, and there is a path forward aimed at putting the political process on track.” -Ms. Rice
In the absence of either of those two scenarios, Ms. Rice states that there seems to be only one other alternative, and that is indeed the worst case, which seems unfortunately at the present to be the most probable.
She explains that as the violence escalates, the conflict spreads and intensifies, it reaches a higher degree of severity.
“The Council’s unity is exploded, the Annan plan is dead, and this becomes a proxy conflict with arms flowing in from all sides.” -Ms. Rice
She says that scenario obviously is the one they all have sought to avoid through support for the Annan plan.
The decision rests, in the first instance, with the Syrian government, whether it will fulfill its commitments, she noted.
“And if it does, then the opposition has an obligation to reciprocate.” -Ms. Rice
If it doesn’t, she stressed the Council has a responsibility to act and act swiftly and surely.
The US we continue to support the Annan plan, she added.
“And that is why we are continuing to work with colleagues in the Council on a collective way forward.” -Ms. Rice
Just days after the Syrian massacre of men, women and children that has sparked widespread condemnation, the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States Kofi Annan in Damascus for talks with senior leaders, particularly President Bashar al-Assad and range of other actors.
On his visit to Damascus, Mr. Annan said he came to Syria at a critical moment in the crisis.
The visit by Kofi Annan to Damascus reportedly comes on the heels of the killings of over 100 civilians, including over 30 children under the age of 10, in the village of Houla two days ago.
Mr. Annan said in a statement issued to the press on his arrival, adding that he is “shocked and horrified” by the tragic incident in Houla.
The killings have also been strongly condemned by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the head of UNSMIS, General Robert Mood, and a host of UN officials.
Mr. Annan urges 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.
The envoy also stressed the need to implement the six-point plan that he put forward a few months ago.
Last week, massacre in Syria’s Houla village in the early hours of 26th of May has reportedly killed 108 civilians, including over 30 children.
Reports say artillery and tank shells were fired in the Syrian village killing hundreds of civilians.
The violence took place in and around the town of Houla, near Homs, after an anti-government protest.
The Security Council voiced condemnation of the recent massacre of men, women and children inHoula.
In addition, the United States of America also expressed condemnation in the massacre in the Syrian village of Haoula.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United Nations observers have confirmed that dozens of men, women, and children were killed and hundreds more wounded in a vicious assault that involved a regime artillery and tank barrage on a residential neighborhood.
She stressed that those who perpetrated this atrocity must be identified and held to account.
And the United States will work with the international community to intensify our pressure on Asad and his cronies, whose rule by murder and fear must come to an end, she added.
The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 9,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.