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Annan sees "one mediation process" key to ending Syrian crisis

03-01-2012 11:16 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- Kofi Annan, the UN and the Arab League (AL)'s joint special envoy for Syria, said Wednesday that an one and only mediation process accepted by all parties concerned is crucial for the success in the efforts to end the current crisis in Syria.

Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League joint special envoy for Syria, speaks to media after his meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, Feb. 29, 2012. Kofi Annan said here Wednesday that "one mediation process" accepted by all parties concerned is crucial for the success in the efforts to end the current crisis in Syria. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

"If we are going to succeed, it is extremely important that we all accept that there should be one process of mediation," Annan told reporters at the UN Headquarters at the end of his first meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon since he was appointed the special envoy.

"When you have more than one, and people take their own initiatives, the parties play with mediators," he said. "If one mediator says something that they don't want, they go to the other. (We need) one single unity process and it is one that the international community speaks with one voice."

"That voice is powerful and we should pull our efforts and work together," he said. "I am determined to work with everybody and I am going to consult broadly with all actors and I think I am well on the way in that direction."

Annan, who served as UN secretary-general from 1997 through 2006, is expected to hold a series of consultations with UN member states through Friday in New York.

Ban, who met the press together with Annan, said that he had asked the joint special envoy to visit some Middle East countries, including Syria, "as soon as possible."

In response, Annan said, "I would expect to get to Syria fairly soon."

"I would plead with (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) that he should engage, not only with me but with the process we are launching," Annan said.

Annan "will need the support of all those inside and outside Syria," Ban said. "I call on all parties to do their utmost."

"He will also be counting on the support of all member states on his diplomatic efforts including the Security Council," Ban said. "He will certainly have mine. I strongly urge the Syrian authorities to extend their full cooperation."

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has asked the United Nations to clarify the precise objective of Annan's mission, ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said Wednesday.

"Kofi Annan had talked with Mr. Muallem after his appointment and the Syrian side requested the precise objective of his mission be explained in a letter by the UN so that we can examine it," the spokesman told reporters in Damascus.

Last Thursday, the UN and the AL announced that they had appointed Annan as their joint special envoy to deal with the crisis in Syria.

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

"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," the statement said.

The appointment of Annan to the post 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.

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