Hoping for a 'soft landing' in Syria
Kofi Annan (L) during a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the presidential palace in Damascus on May 29, 2012.
August 2nd, 2012
11:08 PM ET

Hoping for a 'soft landing' in Syria

By Elise Labott

U.S. officials said they weren't surprised Thursday when Kofi Annan stepped down as U.N. envoy to Syria.


It's a pity that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent months of diplomatic effort, traveling from capital to capital pushing the "Annan plan" as a viable political transition strategy, all the while the administration knew it had little chance of succeeding.

So with Annan's resignation and three failed attempts at a Security Council resolution on Syria, is diplomacy dead?

At the State Department, the answer is "no."


Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
August 2nd, 2012
01:01 PM ET

Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria

Kofi Annan, whose initiative to forge peace in war-ravaged Syria failed to take hold, has resigned as the U.N. and Arab League joint special envoy to the country.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the move Thursday, saying that Annan told him and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El Araby that he didn't want to renew his mandate when it expires on August 31.

Ban praised Annan's "determined and courageous efforts" to end the nearly 17-month-long Syrian crisis, a conflict that started when the regime brutally cracked down on peaceful protesters in March 2011 and morphed into a nationwide uprising.

But Ban cited two factors undermining Annan: The government and the opposition have been determined "to rely on ever-increasing violence," and there have been "persistent divisions within the (U.N.) Security Council."


Filed under: Kofi Annan • Syria • United Nations
July 15th, 2012
02:08 PM ET

Most senior diplomat to defect from Syria talks to CNN

The most senior Syrian diplomat to defect and publicly embrace his country's uprising is calling for a foreign military intervention to topple president Bashar al-Assad.

Nawaf al Fares spokes to CNN's Ivan Watson in Doha, Qatar. Fares also accused the Damascus regime of collaborating with al Qaeda militants against opponents both in Syria and in neighboring Iraq.

Here's a transcript of the interview: FULL POST

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Assad • China • Iran • Iraq • Kofi Annan • Middle East • Russia • Syria • UN Security Council • United Nations
Clinton seeks agreement that Syria needs transition to attend meeting
June 27th, 2012
12:38 AM ET

Clinton seeks agreement that Syria needs transition to attend meeting

By Jill Dougherty, reporting from onboard Secretary Clinton's plane

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may attend an international meeting on Syria proposed by Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, but only if the participants agree that there must be a political transition in the country, an official said Tuesday.

Russia has opposed the idea that other countries dictate a political transition, insisting it is a decision for the Syrians themselves.

Clinton called Annan from her plane en route to a three-nation tour of Finland, Latvia and Russia. The special envoy is continuing his consultations, a senior State Department official told reporters aboard the plane.


U.S., Russia grapple for common ground on Syria transition
June 6th, 2012
04:07 PM ET

U.S., Russia grapple for common ground on Syria transition

By Jill Dougherty and Tim Lister

It's almost a throwback to the Cold War: a toxic mixture of distrust, weapons shipments and chess moves to preserve spheres of influence. But that's how Russia and the United States have been maneuvering over Syria.

Moscow's latest gambit is to propose a regional solution that hinges on Iran and Turkey helping implement the six-point peace plan developed by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.  The timing of the initiative is no accident.  It was announced by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Beijing just as the U.S.-led Friends of Syria group gathered in Washington to plan further steps to isolate and ultimately remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Turkey for an informal gathering in Turkey of the so-called "Friends of Syria."

The proposal is similar to one the Washington Post reports Annan will propose this week to the United Nations Security Council, which could include bringing Iran to the table. FULL POST