Kofi Annan Appointed As U.N. Special Envoy to Syria
Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary General between 1997 and 2006, was on Friday appointed as special envoy to Syria on behalf on the United Nations and the Arab League, with the purpose of brokering a peace in the restive country, which stands on the brink of civil war, as the regime has shelled the central cities of Homs, Hama and Daraa.
Annan’s mission follows two failed attempts of the incumbent secretary general Ban Ki-moon to convince Assad to end violence and return to the negotiation table. Annan is said to want to engage in talks with all the sides involved in the conflict in an attempt to end the killing, solve the humanitarian crisis and facilitate a peaceful transition.
His appointment comes at moment when a report issued by an UN-appointed Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria determined that there are some reasons to believe that officers and officials at the highest levels did behave toward the people of Syria in a manner that qualifies them as criminals against humanity.
Representatives from the United States, Europe and the Arab countries have convened on Friday in Tunis, where they are conducting a meeting under the slogan Friends of Syria, to the purpose of imposing on the Syrian government a stop of violence and the permit to access the zones where people need humanitarian help.
Russia and China decided not to attend the meeting, while Syria is criticizing it as a sign of colonialism. The Syrian media also deemed the nations in attendance as the “historic enemies of the Arabs.”
Among the 60 nations who will be in Tunis are France, the United Kingdom, the United States of America or Turkey. Sanctions are expected to be demanded if the regime in Damascus refuses to stop the violence and offer possibility to attend the injured.
In the words of William Hague, British foreign secretary, the nations that attended want to tighten up the diplomatic and economic stranglehold” on the regime in Damascus.
US State Secretary said that the Syrian National Council, the umbrella for the Syrian opposition, is becoming more and more capable and that it would find “somewhere, somehow the means to defend themselves.” It is not expected that the SNC be recognized during this session.
The “Friends of Syria” are expected to find a “nonmilitary solution,” but the words of Hillary Clinton allude to the idea that she may seek the arming of the rebels so that they may defeat the regime in Damascus.11