Friday 8 June 2012

The Syria players’ cacophonic statements

The UN's Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon

Ban Ki-moon to the General Assembly:
"Each day seems to bring new additions to the grim catalogue of atrocities: assaults against civilians, brutal human rights violations, mass arrests, torture, execution-style killings of whole families. Men, women, even children were executed at a point blank range; some had their throats slit or their skulls crushed. Any regime or leader that tolerates such a killing of innocents has lost its fundamental humanity… For many months it has been evident that President Assad and his government have lost all legitimacy… The dangers of a full-scale civil war are imminent and real. Now it is the time for the international community to take a bold and consorted action.”
Kofi Annan to the General Assembly:
“…Despite the acceptance of the six-point plan and the deployment of a courageous mission of United Nations observers to Syria, I must be frank and confirm that the plan is not being implemented.
 Mr. President, let me pause here and express my horror and condemnation at the fact that a new massacre of tens of civilians including children and women was perpetrated yesterday in Al Qubair, west of Hama. My heart goes out to the victims and their families.  This took place just two weeks after the massacre in Houla that shocked the world. Those responsible for perpetrating these crimes must be held to account. We cannot allow mass killing to become part of everyday reality in Syria.
“As the Secretary-General has clearly explained, the crisis is escalating.  The violence is getting worse. The abuses are continuing.  The country is becoming more polarized and more radicalized. And Syria’s immediate neighbors are increasingly worried about the threat of spillover.  
“Nine days ago, I met President Assad in Damascus. I told him that the six-point plan is not being implemented, as it must. I strongly urged him to take bold and visible steps to now radically change his military posture and honor his commitments to the six-point plan. I urged him to make a strategic decision to change his path. I also made clear that his Government must work with my mediation effort on behalf of both Organizations that I represent.
“President Assad believed the main obstacle was the actions of militants. Clearly, all parties must cease violence. But equally clearly, the first responsibility lies with the Government.
“Since then, shelling of cities has intensified. Government-backed militia seem to have free rein with appalling consequences. Yes, some detainees have been released, and agreement has been reached on modalities for humanitarian assistance. But the hour demands much more. And President Assad has not indicated a change of course in his recent address to the National Assembly.
“…Clearly, the time has come to determine what more can be done to secure implementation of the plan -- and/or what other options exist to address the crisis… Individual actions or interventions will not resolve the crisis. As we demand compliance with international law and the six-point plan, it must be made clear that there will be consequences if compliance is not forthcoming. We must also chart a clearer course for a peaceful transition, if we are to help the Government and opposition, as well as Syrian society, to help resolve the crisis.”
Ban Ki-moon after the Security Council session:
“The Annan plan remains at the center of our efforts. We continue to support it.
“At the same time, in view of the deteriorating situation I would welcome further international discussions on the way forward. 
“The upcoming G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, is an important opportunity. I will be there and I expect key stakeholders to take advantage of this gathering to discuss the crisis in its full depth and breadth. 
“No one can predict how the situation in Syria will evolve. We must be prepared for any eventuality; we must be ready to respond to many possible scenarios.
“At the request of the Security Council, I will soon present a variety of options for the way ahead. 
“It is up to the members of the Council to find common cause.”
Kofi Annan after briefing the Security Council:
“…I said that if this plan is not working or if we decide it is not the way to go, we should be looking at options. But as long as we all agree that the plan has merit, the question is: How do you get the Syrian Government to perform, to implement it, even at this late hour? This is what the Council is in the process of discussing, and I am not going to do their work.
“…There are discussions going on about the possibility of establishing such a group. And the group would include countries with real influence on the situation, countries that can influence either side, the Government of Syria and the opposition… This is why the contact group, that you cannot resolve it by just focusing on the players inside, you need to have the regional and international players be involved. They have to be part of the solution.
“The whole idea is to get to a political transition, and the Syrian people will have to decide their future: the future political dispensation, they have to decide how they are governed and who governs them, and I think that it should be part of the eventual settlement that we are looking at. And the other thing I would want to say is the membership of the group, the contact group that was referred to, all these issues are at a very early stage yet and is under consultation, but I think Iran, as an important country in the region, I hope will be part of the solution.”
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice:
“Iran is part of the problem in Syria at the present. There is no question that it is actively engaged in supporting the government in perpetrating the violence on the ground, We think Iran has not demonstrated, to date, a readiness to contribute constructively to a peaceful political solution.”
State Department’s Mark Toner:
“(Kofi Annan) did confirm his concerns that the plan is not being implemented. I think it’s very clear what we want to see happen, what our expectations are. The Annan plan is a good plan. It lays out the next steps that need to happen – a ceasefire, a dialogue, a political transition, Assad transferring power and departing Syria. These are the basic tenets of a solution to Syria. The problem is in the implementation. And that’s why, as the Secretary stated in Istanbul, her meeting yesterday was about ways to increase pressure on Assad, to make his regime wake up and realize that they need to comply with the Annan plan. So the plan itself is sound; we just need compliance…
“…We do have a very strong coalition, but we need more. We need Russia, (and) we need China, to get onboard behind the Annan plan, behind its implementation, so that we can bring the right amount of pressure to bear on Assad… We want to see the Russians use their influence, if you will, with Assad to convince them that the only way forward here is a political transition.”
China’s UN Ambassador Li Baodong:
"We resolutely oppose the solutions to the Syrian crisis through outside armed intervention or any attempt to forcibly promote regime change. China stands ready to play its positive and constructive role in finding an early peaceful and proper solution to the Syrian question…
"To maintain the momentum for a political solution to the Syrian question and to avoid the escalation of crisis, the parties concerned inside Syria should immediately implement the relevant Security Council resolutions and the six-point Annan plan."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov:
Russia hopes all the parties that can influence the Syrian crisis will take part in the proposed conference, which won’t be a one-time event. “The conference should come under the UN umbrella... The first stage would exclude any Syrian representatives. Its purpose would be to agree on the leverage to be used on each and every Syrian group: be it the government or various opposition forces – to stop the violence and start a dialogue.
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, the League of Arab States, the EU and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation should be “integral parts” to the process. However, “There’ll be no mandate by the UN Security Council for a foreign intervention, I guarantee you that.”