The man charged with bringing peace to Syria has acknowledged that his efforts so far have failed. Kofi Annan’s comments came a day after UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for changes to the UN mission in Syria.
United Nations-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan has conceded that so far, international efforts to end the fighting in Syria have failed.
“The evidence shows that we have not succeeded,” the former UN secretary-general said in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde.
While he acknowledged that his six-point peace plan for the country had made little headway, he offered little in the way of new ideas about how to remedy the situation. However, he did suggest that blaming Russia for continuing to support the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not bringing the international community closer to a solution.
“Russia has influence, but I don’t think that events will be determined by Russia alone. What strikes me is that there is so much talk about Russia and much less about Iran, and little is said about other countries that are sending money and weapons,” Annan said.
“All of these countries say they want a peaceful solution, but they undertake individual and collective actions that undermine the very meaning of (UN) Security Council resolutions,” he added.
Ban calls for changes to UN mission
The comments came a day after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for changes to the international observer mission that is meant to monitor a cease-fire that was meant to be the first phase of Annan’s peace plan.
In a report to the Security Council, Ban said the number of personnel in the UN mission in Syria should be scaled back, but that more the staff should be civilians focused on searching for a political solution to the conflict, and fewer military observers monitoring a cease-fire that never took hold.
The violence continued unabated on Saturday, with the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting more than 50 people killed nationwide, including 19 government soldiers. This, like most other casualty figures coming out of Syria was virtually impossible to independently confirm, due to severe government restrictions on foreign journalists working in the country.
Opposition activists estimate that more than 17,000 people have been killed in Syria since protests against Assad’s rule began in March of 2011.