Kofi Annan, UN and the Arab League "envoy" in Syrian crisis
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was today appointed as an envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League in the Syrian crisis, with a mandate to end the violence and to promote a peaceful political solution. The Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Arab League Secretary-General, General Nabil el-Araby, announced the appointment, on the eve of an international conference on Syria to take place today in Tunis. The announcement of the appointment specifies that Kofi Annan will work to end "all violence and violations of human rights, and promote a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria."
Annan will work with all stakeholders, inside and outside Syria, to achieve ""a peaceful Syrian-led and inclusive political solution that meets the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people through a comprehensive political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition". A deputy to Annan will be chosen from the Arab countries. The Annan choice is motivated by the fact that, Ban Ki-Moon did not find any high-level Arabic name acceptable to both parties. Another possible candidate was the former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari. Annan has played a role in the difficult mediation in Kenya, Ahtisaari in Kosovo. Both were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Meanwhile, representatives of more than 70 countries and organizations will gather for a conference near Tunis called the "Friends of Syria", intended to support the Syrian opposition. Russia and China willnot participate. One of the agenda items will be of assistance to the civilians caught in clashes between government and opposition. A representative of the U.S. State Department said that the conference will ask President Bashar al-Assad to allow international humanitarian access to areas sealed by government troops. The likely outcome of the conference will be a document which calls for an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian aid, with the threat of tougher sanctions if Damascus refuses. But the uniform Syrian opposition also hopes to receive direct and indirect military aid to force Assad to relinquish power.