UN envoy calls for transitional government in Syria


Kofi Annan: ''We strongly condemn the continued escalating killing''

UN peace envoy Kofi Annan has said there is international agreement that a transitional government should be set up in Syria.

This could include both members of the government and opposition, he said after talks in Geneva.

But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could not remain in power.

Meanwhile, activists said a funeral procession in a suburb of Damascus came under mortar attack and 30 people died.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights released amateur video footage claiming to show the explosion in Zamalka, a town 10km (six miles) east of the Syrian capital.

There has been no independent confirmation of the incident.

'Legitimate aspirations'

In Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there were no preconditions to the proposed transition that dictated who should or should not be in the transitional government.

Action Group for Syria agreement

  • All parties must recommit to sustained cessation of armed violence and immediately implement UN envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan
  • Transitional government formed on basis of mutual consent; can include officials serving under President Assad and opposition members
  • Syrians will determine future of their country; all groups allowed to join national dialogue process
  • Constitutional order and legal system to be reviewed; changes subject to popular approval
  • All parties must engage genuinely with Mr Annan to work towards a Syrian-led settlement

Saturday's "action group" conference was attended by both Western powers and Russia and China.

Mr Annan also called for an immediate ceasefire and adherence to the UN's six-point peace plan.

He said there should be access to Syria for humanitarian organisations and media.

Mr Annan said the conference had agreed there should be a "transitional government body with full executive powers".

"We are determined to work together urgently and intensively to bring about an end to the violence and human rights abuses, and the launch of a Syrian-led political process, leading to a transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, and enables them independently and democratically to determine their own future," he said.

He warned: "The action group has pledged action, and they are sending a message of determination and hope, but today's words must not become tomorrow's disappointments.

Start Quote

I hope all in Syria will embrace what has been laid out here and work with us to stop the killing and build a better future”

End Quote Kofi Annan UN and Arab League envoy

"The hard work starts now. We must work together to implement what has been agreed. We cannot do this alone. I hope all in Syria will embrace what has been laid out here and work with us to stop the killing and build a better future."

Speaking on behalf of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, UK, France, Russia and China - British Foreign Secretary William Hague said all five were committed to supporting Mr Annan's efforts.

Russia had blocked a provision in Mr Annan's plan that would have called for Mr Assad to step down to make way for a unity government.

Mrs Clinton told reporters after Saturday's talks: "Assad will still have to go... given the blood on his hands."

Mr Assad has said he will not accept any solution to his country's crisis imposed from outside.

He told Iranian television that it was an "internal issue" which had "nothing to do with foreign countries", stressing that no amount of foreign pressure would make his government change its policy on internal security.

Some 15,800 people have died in the 16-month uprising against the rule of President Assad, activists say.

In the latest report, the observatory said a mortar bomb had gone off in Zamalka.

The first video the group released showed a crowd of chanting mourners bearing a shrouded body on a bier along a street. There is a sudden, blinding flash and a loud bang with the sound of breaking glass, at which point the recording stops.

In the second video, dazed people can be seen staggering or running through a cloud of smoke or dust.

When the cloud clears, bodies, some of them mutilated, can be seen strewn along the street. A shrouded corpse on a bier similar to that from the first video can be seen abandoned on the ground nearby.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    @90 ziadafadel
    You area Syrian supporter of Assad but it was he who started it all by firing on peaceful demonstrators in the streets. There were no rebel fighters for several months until hundreds of people were killed. Your popular Assad won't let in the Red Cross and is now laying anti personnel mines to stop refugees leaving-an action condemned by international law.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    Regardless of circumstances re Turkey warplane, US has decided to use incident to up its aims against Assad Govt. NEW AIM = overthrow of Syrian Govt. GREATER AIM - establish more direct control over Middle East & Central Asia - same agenda that produced wars in Afghanistan, Iraq & Libya. Any military conflict with Syria will involve its allies: Iran, Russia & China = global catastrophe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Over 16 thousand people dead,to me the UN has proven to be USELESS in stopping the violence against the Syrians.Russia must be aware that the Syrian people will remember and that someday they will pay the price for allowing so many to loose their lives.There is a force in this universe that will deliver the Syrian people so that they to someday may live in peace as elsewhere on this planet!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Once again the West want to go crashing through another country for self interest. Washington has been funding right-wing Syrian opposition groups for years and .who are now involved in kidnappings, torture and executions.
    NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict. Special forces are also on the ground..
    Kofi Annan is being used and is unlikely to have any effect for peace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    CIA arming OPPOSITION; Syrian “rebels” are PROXY for US imperialism. NATO/Turkey - no new evidence re shooting down of Turkish warplane. Turkey said plane was briefly in Syrian airspace, but outside at shoot down. NATO Chief, Rasmussen said incident was “unacceptable” = e.g. of Syrian authorities’ disregard for international rules.
    Rasmussen refused questions from journalists…

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Turkey/NATO bolstering OPPOSITION forces, giving greater freedom along 500-mile-long Syria-Turkey border where Erdogan has deployed Turkish military. This prevents Syria from taking ANY military action against Free Syrian Army near border. Opposition militias are being externally supported - smuggled supplies, incl. weapons, communications gear, & even salaries for soldiers who defect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    This is not about freedom or civil rights or what is good for Syria. This is about the US/UK and alias arming a non paid army to destroy a leadership that stands in the way.

    Anyone who believes the US/UK that this is for the rights of people is gullible, when did the US/UK worry about the rights of people, even their own people?

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    the solution to Syria is the same under most dictatorial regime. you kill the dictator then the other renaming groups fight to see who gets the power next.
    very sad but a true fact in wars of this type.
    blood always calls out for blood.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Syrian opposition forces have a base of operations in Turkey, are coordinated/armed by the US (& allies), & were clearly emboldened by downing of Turkish plane. Coordinated attack on Syrian troops in Damascus was most significant violence in capital since the conflict began. Attacks targeted the presidential palace & Republican Guard. DISRUPTION IS OPPOSITION DISRUPTION..

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    @Pancha Chandra What about the condemnation of KSA or what about Qatar? They too are providing for the FSA, in many aspects. What about condemnation of the one's responsible for the attack on the TV station on Damascus? But yeah, like it or not, but there is nothing illegal in the purchasing of arms by a sovereign state, although many outlets like to say it's solely for killing civilians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    All the ME revolutions remind me of WWII Yugoslavia, which had a Communist vs. Anti-Communist civil war running parallel to the resistance to Germany and Italy. Now it's democracy vs. theocracy with the same level of fanaticism on the theocracy side. Expect the same or worse post-victory slaughter of the losers to remove potential opposition if the theocrats win and a repressive dictatorship.

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    Why is it so hard for Russia to understand that the old Syria will cease to exist shortly, wether the UN or Arab League intervene or not.

    No one denies that Russia has the most to lose, so why on earth are they not taking the lead and forming new alliances ?

    I'd prefer a Russian-backed 'New Syria' to one backed by the US.

    Wake up Putin, time to grow a pair.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    Syria's Air defence equipment is on a par with Libya's.

    Lets Roll.

    The Russians and Chinese wouldn't care.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    Nothing can be done to improve the situation in this conflict-riddled region of the world until the people who live there are prepared to move into the 21st century. Their religious beliefs override and dominate their every moment. When they cease their shouting and breast-beating and come up with cohesive, forward thinking. they might begin to command respect elsewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    A proxy war. It's a squabble between the Saudis and Iranians for control of the Middle East. The only reason the "West" is involved is oil. A few thousand dead civilians are a cheap price to pay for access. Plus they are not "our" civilians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    As a Syrian, I reject any effort by foreign governments to interfere in our war against the terrorists who are financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar - especially countries with a colonialist past. I am shocked by even the small number of your readers who don't realize that our president is extremely popular.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    Re 80: So, just the usual objectional, racist, anti-semetic, lies then? Why on earth would Israel have anything to do with Syrian rebels? These are, in the main, Sunni islamists. They would pose a potential threat to Israel. Assad keeps them in check. It would be more in Israel's interests to back Assad!

    I'm amazed that BBC moderators allow such irrelevant, anti-semetic lies on their site.

  • Comment number 88.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?


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