Kofi Annan arrives in Damascus

Aims to save peace plan

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Damascus yesterday for talks with the Syrian government in an urgent effort to save his six-point peace plan, which he has admitted is failing.

Mr. Annan’s arrival in Syria followed a statement by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton that time is running out for a peaceful solution. She warned that the Syrian state could collapse if the crisis continued.

“The sooner there can be an end to violence and the start of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there [will be] a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Removing the cause

To Russia, China and Iran, accused of backing the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, she reiterated her stand that he would be removed.

In response to Mrs. Clinton’s charge that Russia and China were blocking efforts to end the conflict, Mr. Annan said in an interview with French daily Le Monde: “Russia wields influence but I am not sure that the events will be determined by Russia alone.”

He added that, while Russia is accused of being a stumbling block to peace, “little is said about other countries which send arms, money, and have a presence on the ground”.

These include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US, Britain and France.

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