Annan says UN Council must be united on Syria
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the Security Council today it must end divisions as it bids to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to halt a bloody crackdown on protests, diplomats said.
"The stronger and more unified your message, the better chance we have of shifting the dynamics of the conflict," Annan was quoted as telling the 15-nation council.
The former UN secretary general appealed for the council to unite behind his mission to end the year-old military assault on protest cities which the UN says has left more than 8,000 dead.
Annan spoke to the council by video conference from Geneva about his talks with Assad in Damascus last weekend and his contacts since with the government. Diplomats in the closed meeting reported his comments.
Annan said before the meeting he has made "concrete" proposals which the government has responded to but he is now seeking more clarifications.
Syria's foreign ministry said today the government would cooperate with Annan while at the same time fighting "terrorism," its blanket term for the opposition uprising and protests.
The result of the council meeting is expected to decide the next moves in efforts to pass a resolution condemning the violence.
Russia and China have vetoed two resolutions on Syria in the past six months saying they were unbalanced. The council faces growing international criticism for its failure to act on the crisis.
It has failed to pass a resolution in the year of the uprising and many UN officials now openly say the silence has cost lives as it has encouraged Assad's government to believe it can act with impunity.