UN envoy Kofi Annan stresses political settlement for Syria crisis

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UN envoy Kofi Annan stresses political settlement for Syria crisis

The UN and Arab League's special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan urged an immediate end of violence in the country and stressed the ultimate solution to the crisis lies in a political settlement.

The UN and Arab League's special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan urged an immediate end of violence in the country and stressed the ultimate solution to the crisis lies in a political settlement.

UN-Arab League (AL) special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan (L) attends a news conference with AL chief Nabil al-Arabi at the AL headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, March 8, 2012. (Xinhua/Nasser Nouri)
"The killing has to stop and we need to find a way of putting in their appropriate reforms and moving forward," said Annan after his talks with AL chief Nabil al-Arabi here in Cairo.

Annan's recent appointment by the UN and AL as their joint envoy for the Syrian crisis has been the latest efforts of international community to seek a political and peaceful solution to the months-long violence.

"The situation in the country, as you all know, is extremely serious for the Syrian people and the region. I think we should not forget the possible impact of Syria on the region if there is any miscalculation," said Annan.

The former UN chief said "no one is thinking very seriously of using force in the situation", noting that any further militarization will make the situation worse.

He stressed the importance of diplomatic efforts in putting an end to the killing in Syria, calling for realistic proposals which can be implemented and achieve results.

Arabi echoed Annan's idea by saying that AL efforts aim to reach a solution that is satisfactory to the Syrian people.

"No one wants a repetition of the Libyan scenario. We only want to find a solution with the opposition and the government," he added.

"We are hoping that when he goes to Syria on Saturday, it will really be ground-breaking and that he will be able to get the breakthrough that we all hope," Arabi told reporters.

Annan is scheduled to go to Damascus on Saturday after attending the meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.

Arabi added "what is really needed now is to stop the fighting and to introduce humanitarian assistance, medical assistance and start a political process that will lead to the realization of what the Syrian people would like to have."

Annan also held talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr on Thursday. Amr told Annan Egypt's vision to solve the Syrian crisis peacefully through the Arab initiation to avoid military intervention.

Amr said if the situation in Syria exploded, this would affect the whole region because of the geographic nature of Syria.

Egypt has rejected the arming of the opposition groups of Syria, in contrast to the stance of some Gulf nations. Differences within the pan-Arab body on the solution to the Syria crisis arise.

"We will do whatever we can to urge and press for the cessation of hostilities and then the killing and violence," Annan told reporters after meeting with Amr.

"But of course, ultimately the solution lies in a political settlement," said Annan. The envoy added he would urge the government and the Syrian opposition to "come together to work with us to find a solution that will respect the aspirations of Syrian people".

Syria's government said last December that "armed terrorist groups" had killed more than 2,000 army and security personnel, while the UN said recently that "well over" 7,500 people have died in Syria's violence, which began in March last year.

Annan was jointly appointed as special envoy to Syria by UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Arabi on Feb. 23. He arrived in Cairo on Wednesday and plans to meet with Arab foreign ministers on Saturday. He will go to Syria with his newly-appointed Arab deputy Nasser al-Qidwa after the meeting.

The Syrian government has expressed its welcome for the upcoming visit of Annan. Meanwhile it also approved the visit of UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs Valerie Amos on Monday.

Analysts fear the situation in Syria may fall into a civil war. Western powers and the AL have imposed economic sanctions and political pressure on the Syrian regime in order to end the violence.

VietNamNet/Xinhuanet

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