Annan’s trip to Damascus means chance for political settlement remains

Arab World Materials 29 May 2012 04:47 (UTC +04:00)

Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan's trip to Damascus on Monday, May 28, signifies that that chances for political settlement remain, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said, ITAR-TASS reported.

"It is important that Kofi Annan has not cancelled his trip to Damascus even in such an acute situation. Therefore chances for political settlement remain," he wrote on his Twitter account on Monday, May 28.

Annan arrived in Damascus earlier in the day for talks with President Bashar al-Assad and other officials as well as for meetings with members of the Syrian opposition and civil society.

Gatilov said earlier that Moscow "is actively working with Damascus in order to launch the political process of settlement in the country as soon as possible".

"Attempts to impose the decision on Syria from outside results only in an escalation of tension," Gatilov said. "All must proceed on condition of respect for Syria's sovereignty, while violence must be stopped," he stressed.

Syrian Finance Minister Mohammad al Jillati said Annan should be objective in his assessment of events in Syria.

"We hope that Kofi Annan will be objective in viewing events in Syria. During his upcoming visit to Syria Annan will get a full picture of developments, especially now that the number of U.N. observers as increased," the minister told Itar-Tass in an exclusive interview last week.

He stressed that Annan and the international community "should not criticise only the Syrian government's actions".

"There is a third party to the conflict, which is doing everything it can to destroy the Syrian economy. Now the special envoy himself speaks of a third party to the conflict. Even General Robert Mood [head of the U.N. ceasefire monitoring mission in Syria] has repeatedly spoken about the assistance he gets in his work from the government," Jillati said.

He confirmed that Annan's visit to Syria will take place in late May. "The Syrian side is ready to receive Kofi Annan at any time. During the visit we will discuss other points of the roadmap for peace," he said.

Damascus also intends to raise the question of Annan's attitude to the countries that are helping supply arms to the opposition or calling for taking up arms.

"We have undertaken to comply with all points of Kofi Annan's plan, and we are doing that. We hope that Kofi Annan will make all parties comply with his plan," Jillati said.

Syria expects the special envoy to contribute to the dialogue with the armed opposition in order to stop the bloodshed and strengthen security and stability in Syria.

"Stability in Syria is necessary not only for the neighbouring countries but for all people who live in this world," the minister said.

Jillati is in Moscow to attend a meeting of the permanent Russian-Syrian c commission ion trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation.