Special U.N. envoy Kofi Annan acknowledged in an interview at Le Monde published Saturday, July 7, 2012 that the international community's efforts to find a political solution to the escalating violence in Syria have failed.
“Evidently, we haven’t succeeded,” Annan said in an interview with Le Monde published Saturday.
International efforts to find a political solution to the violence in Syria are failing, United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan told French newspaper Le Monde.
Annan also said that more attention needed to be paid to the role of longtime Syrian ally Iran, and that countries supporting military actors in the conflict were making the situation worse.
Annan said in Saturday’s Le Monde that while Russia has influence on the situation, he isn’t certain that events will be determined by that country only. Shiite Iran can’t be ignored as an influential ally of Syria, Annan said.
Annan told the French daily Le Monde that more attention needed to be paid to the role of longtime Syrian ally Iran, and that countries supporting military actors in the conflict were making the situation worse.
"The evidence shows that we have not succeeded," he said.
Annan’s six-point plan was to begin with a cease-fire in mid-April between government forces and rebels seeking to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But the truce never took hold, and now the almost 300 U.N. observers sent to monitor the cease-fire are confined to their hotels because of the escalating violence.
Annan defended the unarmed observers, saying it was not their job to stop the violence, but to monitor the sides' adherence to the truce.
Annan also offered few suggestions on how the plan could be salvaged; only saying that Iran "should be part of the solution" and that criticism too often focused on Russia, which has stood by the regime.
"Very few things are said about other countries that send arms and money and weigh on the situation on the ground," he said, without naming any specific countries.
The Syrian authorities have portrayed the unrest as a conspiracy and the protesters as radical Islamists.
World powers adopted a plan for a Syrian transition government on June 30, altering a draft agreement proposed by Annan after Russia objected to language that would have prohibited and members of his inner circle from being part of a transitional government.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recommended reducing the number of monitors in Syria, and having the smaller mission based in Damascus, to encourage a political dialogue. The UN monitors’ three-month mission expires July 20.
The violence in Syria has raised fears that the unrest will spill over into Lebanon, which has extensive sectarian and political ties to its eastern neighbor.
The UN Security Council will vote this week on a resolution based on Ban’s recommendations.