Conflict & Justice

Kofi Annan plan for Syrian unity government 'wins Russian support'


UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan speaks to the press in Damascus on May 29, 2012, following his meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In his meeting with Assad, Annan conveyed 'the grave concern of the international community about the violence in Syria, including in particular the recent events in Houla,' his office said.


Louai Beshara

Major world powers, including Russia, are supporting a plan by UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan for a transitional government of national unity in Syria, Reuters reported.

Under the proposal, the new cabinet would include members from both sides of the Syrian conflict, but exclude those whose participation could damage its credibility – raising the possibility that President Bashar al-Assad may be left out.

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The idea is to be discussed at a meeting in Geneva on Saturday, and while it doesn't explicitly mention Assad himself, western diplomats say Russia – a long-time ally of Syria – had indicated its support to Annan.

According to an unnamed diplomat, Annan made it clear that any settlement would be irreversible, with clear transition steps fixed to a set timeline – adding the 16-month Syrian conflict could only be brought to an end when “all sides see a peaceful way to a shared future," Reuters reported.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the Annan plan for political transition as a "great hope that this perhaps can be a turning point in the very tragic circumstances affecting the Syrian people,” the BBC reported.

Clinton will attend Saturday's meeting, which is to include Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar, along with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

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Meanwhile, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least a further 82 people were killed inside Syria on Wednesday, including the victims of an attack on a television station, Al Arabiya News reported.

It described the period between June 20 to 26 as the “the bloodiest week of the Syrian Revolution,” with 916 deaths.