Opinion / Editorials

Annan's initiative for Syria

(China Daily) Updated: 2012-07-11 08:00

In an effort to rekindle hope that a political solution can be found to the Syrian crisis, Kofi Annan, the United Nations and Arab League joint special envoy, announced on Monday that he had agreed a new approach with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to ending the violence and he would share it with the opposition forces.

A world community that loves peace should cherish Annan's perseverance. As tensions in Syria intensify, keeping the political dialogue rolling is the only hope of preventing more humanitarian disasters in the country, which has been mired in violence for months. It is another window of opportunity for peace.

The international community should rally around Annan's new initiative, as they did when he proposed a six-point ceasefire plan in April. They should press all political forces in Syria to accept the olive branch.

As long as there is still the possibility of a peaceful solution to the crisis, the international community should provide its full support to Annan's mediation.

They should be fully aware that pushing ahead with Annan's new approach will not be easy. To start a dialogue and ignite the political process, belligerent parties need to stop fighting. It was the failure to realize a ceasefire that undermined Annan's previous peace plan.

Even the presence of almost 300 UN monitors has failed to curb the country's violence. Worse, confrontation between government troops and armed groups has escalated.

The new approach will only work when political forces in Syria make compromises. However, the "Friends of Syria" meeting, which concluded on Saturday in Paris, pledged more support to Syria's armed opposition and threatened more sanctions on the Syrian government, which will only escalate the tension and conflict.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while encouraging or allowing a flow of more weapons from the West to Syria's opposition forces, lashed out at Russia and China at the meeting, accusing the two countries of "holding up progress".

Clinton's remarks do not hold water. China has made an important contribution to safeguarding the UN Charter, the basic norms governing international relations, and the peace and stability of the region.

Meaningful progress is working toward a lasting peaceful solution that is based on the choice of the Syrian people. And that calls for a commitment to the Annan approach.

(China Daily 07/11/2012 page8)

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