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Annan, Ban to meet on Syrian crisis

03-01-2012 08:56 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- Kofi Annan, the United Nations- Arab League joint special envoy for Syria, is scheduled to meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon late Wednesday on the current situation in Syria, UN officials said here in New York.

Annan, who served as UN secretary-general from 1997 through 2006, is expected to meet with Ban, his successor, at 6 p.m. EST ( 2300 GMT) Wednesday at the UN Headquarters in New York, the officials said.

Annan, a Ghanaian statesman who has long served the world body, will speak to the press here following his meeting with the secretary-general.

Last Thursday, the United Nations and the League of Arab States announced that they have appointed Annan as their joint special envoy to deal with the crisis in Syria, where thousands of people have been reportedly killed since the country has been plunged into a political crisis from March 2011.

In a joint statement, Ban and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby said Annan will serve as their high-level representative on the crisis, and will be supported by a deputy to be chosen later from the Arab world.

"The special envoy will provide good offices aimed at bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations, and promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis," said the statement.

The appointment was widely hailed by the international community including Russia and China, two permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Earlier this week, Annan held separate talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.

In his first statement on Friday, Annan called for the full cooperation of all parties and stakeholders to help bring an end to the current crisis in Syria.

Annan, in a separate brief statement issued in Geneva where he is based, said he would hold a series of consultations in New York through Friday and then leave for Cairo to meet El-Araby.

The former UN chief also planned to visit others countries in the Middle East after his meeting with the Arab League chief, according to the statement, although it did not disclose any details of the proposed visit.

Since the unrest broke out in Syria last March, the number of casualties in the conflict has been rising steadily amid unrelenting clashes and fights between government forces and opposition fighters.

The United Nations recently put the death toll in the Syrian unrest at 6,000, while Damascus said more than 2,000 army and security personnel have been killed during the turmoil and blamed the bloodshed on armed groups backed by foreign powers.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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