Monday, April 2, 2012

Annan: Syria Committed to Pull Out Troops by April 10

This is the read-out of the Security Council’s meeting with the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, as delivered by the President of the Security Council the American Ambassador Susan Rice. 

The Joint Special Envoy reviewed for the Security Council his efforts so far to address the crisis in Syria. He expressed gratitude for the recent Presidential Statement and for the Security Council unity that it represented. Joint Special Envoy Annan said that in his discussions with the Syrian regime, he emphasized the urgency of the situation and pressed the government to cease troop movements, cease the use of heavy weapons, and pull out of population centers. Mr. Annan reported that the Syrian foreign minister sent him a letter yesterday, in which he said that the Syrian military will begin immediately, and by April 10th will complete, the cessation of all forward deployment and use of heavy weapons and will complete its withdrawal from population centers. These are steps A through C in the Six-Point Plan, item 2.
Mr. Annan said that he wished that he had this confirmation of action sooner, in other words, that the April 10th deadline would ideally have been earlier than it is. But he urged the government of Syria to start immediately and to ensure that forces move no further into population centers. And, as he related, that commitment was provided by the Syrian authorities. Mr. Annan reported that he’s expecting details from the Syrian government very shortly on the other aspects of his Six-Point Plan, including key requests for humanitarian access, the two-hour daily humanitarian pause, as well as access for the media, and of course, the political process. Mr. Annan’s deputy, Nassar al-Qidwa, has also had constructive exchanges with the opposition to urge them to cease their operations within 48 hours of a complete cessation of government hostilities, in other words, their fulfillment of steps A through C.
Mr. Annan said that a DPKO team joined by some of his staff will travel again to Syria this week to continue preparations for a potential monitoring and supervisory mission of the UN. And finally, Mr. Annan asked the Security Council to support the April 10 deadline and, given the urgency of the situation, to begin consideration of a potential UN monitoring mission. Under-Secretary-General Ladsous then briefed in very short terms on DPKO’s early-stage contingency planning for such a monitoring mission. All members of the Security Council expressed full support for Joint Special Envoy Annan and called for his Six-Point Plan to be implemented immediately, including a political process leading to a transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people for democracy, a key point reiterated more than once by the Joint Special Envoy.
Some members of the Security Council expressed concern that the government of Syria not use the next days to intensify the violence and expressed some skepticism about the bona fides of the government in this regard. But, in general, Council members expressed a willingness to consider Mr. Annan’s plan for a monitoring mission if indeed a cessation of violence is achieved.
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