UN envoy Annan says Syria efforts failing
Beirut: Special UN envoy Kofi Annan acknowledged in an interview published on Saturday that the international community's efforts to find a political solution to the escalating violence in Syria have failed.
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, the special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League, is the architect of the most prominent international plan to end the crisis in Syria, which activists say has killed more than 14,000 people since March, 2011.
His six-point plan was to begin with a cease-fire in mid-April between government forces and rebels seeking to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad.
But the truce never took hold, and now the almost 300 UN observers sent to monitor the cease-fire are confined to their hotels because of the escalating violence.
Activists reported at least 67 people killed on Friday alone, after some 800 people last week.
Annan defended the unarmed observers, saying it was not their job to stop the violence, but to monitor the sides' adherence to the truce.
He 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.
Iran is a longtime Syrian ally that has stood by the regime throughout the uprising. It is unclear what role Annan envisions for Iran. Tehran's close ties could make it an interlocutor with the regime, though the US has often refused to let the Islamic Republic attend conferences about the Syria crisis.
Russia provides the Assad regime with most of its weapons. No countries are known to be arming the rebels, though some Gulf Arab states have spoken positively of doing so.
The US and other Western nations have sent non-lethal aid, like communications equipment.
The Syrian uprising began in March, 2011, when people first took to the streets to call for political reforms.