‘Annan says UN Council must be united on Syria’

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the Security Council it must end divisions as it bids to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to halt a bloody crackdown on protests.

New York: UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the Security Council today it must end divisions as
it bids to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to halt a
bloody crackdown on protests, diplomats said.

"The stronger and more unified your message, the better
chance we have of shifting the dynamics of the conflict,"
Annan was quoted as telling the 15-nation council.

The former UN secretary general appealed for the council
to unite behind his mission to end the year-old military
assault on protest cities which the UN says has left more than
8,000 dead.

Annan spoke to the council by video conference from Geneva
about his talks with Assad in Damascus last weekend and his
contacts since with the government. Diplomats in the closed
meeting reported his comments.

Annan said before the meeting he has made "concrete"
proposals which the government has responded to but he is now
seeking more clarifications.

Syria`s foreign ministry said today the government would
cooperate with Annan while at the same time fighting
"terrorism," its blanket term for the opposition uprising and
protests.

The result of the council meeting is expected to decide
the next moves in efforts to pass a resolution condemning the
violence.

Russia and China have vetoed two resolutions on Syria in
the past six months saying they were unbalanced. The council
faces growing international criticism for its failure to act
on the crisis.

It has failed to pass a resolution in the year of the
uprising and many UN officials now openly say the silence has
cost lives as it has encouraged Assad`s government to believe
it can act with impunity.

PTI

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