Via Al Jazeera;
The United Nations Security Council has adopted a statement backing joint UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s plan for ending the year-long violence in Syria, as a government crackdown on opposition strongholds has continued.
The statement adopted on Wednesday expressed the council’s “full support” for Annan’s efforts, and called upon both the government and the opposition “to work in good faith with the envoy towards a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis” and to fully implement his six-point proposal.
The statement threatened “further steps” if the government failed to comply with the proposal.
Anan’s plan calls for a ceasefire, specifically a “daily two hour humanitarian pause,” to be established, as well as for both sides to engage in political dialogue and to allow humanitarian aid agencies access to areas where citizens have been caught up in an increasingly militarised conflict.
It also calls for those detained during a government crackdown on protests to be released, and for restrictions on the freedom of movement of foreign journalists to be removed.
The 15-member UNSC, including China and Russia who have vetoed previous moves, called on the Syrian government to commit to working with “an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people”.
Speaking in Berlin, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said that the text of the statement “reflects the reality in Syria and supports Annan’s aims. We support it fully”.
“The document does not contain any ultimatums, threats or assertions about who is guilty,” he said,
Earlier, Lavrov told radio station Kommersant-FM that Russia believed that “the Syrian leadership reacted wrongly to the first appearance of peaceful protests and … is making very many mistakes”.
Lavrov also spoke of a “future transition” period for Syria but continued to reject calls from most Western and Arab states for Assad to resign, saying this was “unrealistic”
How will this affect the opposition’s willingness to reach a diplomatic end to the warfare? Opposition leaders have already rebuked Kofi Annan’s call for diplomacy, a plan which seems foolish in the face of the more than ten thousand dead Syrian citizens. So will this give nothing more than token aid to distressed citizens, and perhaps inflame the international community if there are no ceasefires, or broken ceasefires, that kill U.N. workers attempting to get aid into bombarded areas. Will a ceasefire be broken by the opposition, prompting outrage against them? Or will this be a watershed moment, as Russia and China drop their previous veto, that manufactures a peace between warring parties? Perhaps “further steps” will be necessary against the recalcitrant Assad regime.