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Annan: Russia, West agree on transition government for Syria

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UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan (C) speaks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) next to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L) at the opening of a meeting on June 30, 2012, at the United Nations office in Geneva.

The Syrian crisis is to be resolved by a transition government consisting of the current authorities and opposition leaders. The proposal was announced by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan after talks in Geneva.

The unity government should be formed on the basis of “mutual consent” said Annan. The Syrian-led transition should take place within a fixed period of time and the envoy hopes this may happen by the end of the year.

Annan, announcing the official communiqué of the international meeting in Geneva, called on the Syrian regime and opposition groups to re-commit to a ceasefire and to start implementing his six-point peace plan immediately, without waiting for the other side.

The plan urges the sides in the Syrian conflict to cooperate with UN observers, allow humanitarian aid delivery, release detainees and grant journalists access to the country. The right to peaceful demonstrations must also be respected, stressed Annan.

Prior to the conference, Annan had proposed a plan for a unity government in Syria excluding political figures that would compromise the country’s stability and effectively calling for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow refused to back such a condition and also made sure the plan brokered in Geneva would not require Assad to step down.

Kofi Annan also said that foreign ministers who took part in the conference in Geneva would make up a regular working group on the Syrian crisis. A new round of Syria talks may take place in Moscow, suggest diplomatic sources.

Assad: To stay or not to stay?

Despite calls from some international players for the Syrian president to immediately step down, the world powers have agreed in Geneva that it is up to the Syrian people to determine their political future, leaving the door open for Assad to be a part of the new government.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out the new document does not lay down a political process for Syria, a provision that was among major demands Russia and China took to Geneva.

“We consider it of the utmost importance that this document does not seek to dictate to the Syrian sides how the transition process should happen politically. How exactly this process will take place is up to the Syrian people. This document is very precise on that,” Lavrov told reporters.

To find compromise with Russia, the United States backed away from its calls for the immediate resignation of President Assad but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton still said the new transition plan means Assad will have to go anyway, as the Syrian leader would hardly pass a “mutual consent test, given the blood on his hands.”

“There is a credible alternative to the Assad regime,” she said. “What we have done here is to strip away the fiction that he and those with blood on their hands can stay in power.”

Lavrov however stressed that Moscow “is not justifying” the actions of the Syrian government. “It is the regime that is responsible for the security in the country. The regime is significantly late with reforms,” Russian foreign minister noted.

During the meeting, British foreign secretary William Hague called for the UN Security Council to draft a resolution imposing sanctions against the Arab country. He also maintained that President Assad and his close associates could not lead a transition, reports Reuters.

“Without [a UNSC resolution] and the prospect of penalties for non-compliance, there can be little credible pressure on the Syrian regime and other parties to change course,” said Hague.

The US would call a UNSC session over the Syrian crisis, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in the press conference that followed. Sanctions based on UN Charter VII should be used against Syria if Annan’s new plan is not implemented, she added.

The violent uprisings that started over 16 months ago in Syria have become increasingly more militarized over the last few months. Both the Syrian president and the UN envoy Annan have classified the conflict as an all-out war.

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said that the death toll has reached over 10,000, while opposition groups say that the figure is a lot higher.


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2 Responses to " Annan: Russia, West agree on transition government for Syria "

  1. Bonsai Guy says:

    Hubristic spongers and control freaks convention,move on,nothing to see here.

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  2. Harry says:

    It is the classic battle of GOOD against EVIL- and the Obama administration is the most EVIL in American history- Every part of Obama’s life is a LIE and Obama even surrendered his LAW license to avoid investigation-his past is covered up by the NEWS-MEDIA to make him look like a decent person- But Obama is a criminal and millions of Americans know about it- have we become gutless wimps that we will allow this crime against America to exist without opening our mouths in protest?

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