Annan not participating to Syria talks in Istanbul

Annan not participating to Syria talks in Istanbul

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Annan not participating to Syria talks in Istanbul

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (R) and UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan meet in Ankara March 12. AA photo

The joint U.N.-Arab League special envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, will not participate in the meeting of the Friends of Syria Group in Istanbul on April 1.

Nasser al-Kidwa, the U.N.-Arab League deputy joint special envoy for Syria, will attend instead, diplomatic sources told Hürriyet Daily News. Despite having been invited by Turkey to attend the Istanbul meeting, Annan has to participate in a U.N. Security Council briefing on early April 2, sources added.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will also not be able to attend the Friends of Syria meeting due to the same briefing. Lynn Pascoe, Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs, will represent the U.N. on behalf of Ban, sources said.

The meeting of top diplomats in Turkey comes after Syria president Bashar al-Assad accepted Annan’s six-point plan calling for a daily two-hour humanitarian ceasefire and access to all areas affected by the fighting in Syria, an inclusive Syrian-led political process, a right to demonstrate, and the release of people detained arbitrarily.

Annan asks ‘low profile’
Annan is expected to lay out a road map to achieve his peace plan during briefing to the UN Security Council. Annan has asked some Western powers to take a low profile on the issue of the Syrian crisis for the sake of his peace plan, now that al-Assad has accepted it, the Daily News has learned. Meanwhile, Syrian National Council chairman Burhan Ghalioun ruled out a dialogue and asked Assad step down in a statement March 27. Meanwhile, Military action against towns and villages from the southern province of Deraa to the cities of Hama and Homs, were reported.

Syrian forces backed by tanks stormed the central town of Qalaat al-Madiq, killing at least 13 people, activists said yesterday.


GENEVA – Agence France-Presse

U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan will not visit Tehran next week, his spokesman said yesterday, after Iran’s foreign minister said the ex-UN chief was expected in the Iranian capital, Agence France-Presse reported. “He is not going to Iran next Monday or next week,” the envoy’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said. Instead, Annan will be briefing the U.N. Security Council through video conferencing from Geneva on April 2.

 Earlier yesterday, Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Annan was “probably coming to Tehran on Monday,” speaking to reporters on the sideline of a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Salehi also said “there is some differences between Iran and Turkey vis a vis the issue of Syria.” “But we are nearing to closing the gap of differences with the mission of Mr Kofi Annan and with the support of Turkey, Arab nations and the U.N. we hope there will be a way out for the Syrian issue,” he said, Reuters reported.

Iran is Syria’s chief ally in the Middle East, and has provided the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with political and material support as it cracks down on an uprising.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has praised the Syrian leadership’s handling of the year-long uprising in which thousands have died, saying Tehran would do everything it could to support its closest Arab ally. “I am very happy that Syrian officials are managing the situation well ... I hope the situation in Syria improves day after day,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying during talks with Assad’s special envoy, Faisal Meqdad.