Annan Meets Miqati, Says Lebanon Exerting Efforts to Prevent Arms Smuggling to Syriaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan on Friday said Lebanese authorities were doing everything possible to prevent arms smuggling across the border with Syria.
“We should deter arms smuggling and the Lebanese government informed me clearly that it prevents smuggling,” Annan said in a press conference at the Grand Serail following talks with Prime Minister Najib Miqati.
Annan said he discussed with Miqati the measures taken by Jordan and Lebanon to steer clear of the repercussions of the Syrian crisis.
The international envoy said they also discussed the abduction in Syria of the 11 Lebanese pilgrims.
“We will do whatever we can to help in the case … We hope that they will released soon,” said Annan.
Turning to the situations in Syria, Annan said : “We are exerting efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria, and we condemn the massacre in Houla and the other killings in the country.”
“The U.N. observers are monitoring the situation in Syria. I am sure that U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is taking the necessary measures to maintain an unbiased mission in the country,” said Annan.
“The U.N. Security Council decides when the peace plan has failed. We should reach a solution to a transitional phase,” he added.
"Bold action has to be taken by President Assad in Syria to put real energy into the implementation of the six-point peace plan," Annan said.
Annan, on a regional tour of Syria's neighbors after talks earlier this week in Damascus with Assad, said he was "frustrated over the violence" in Syria, where last week 108 people were slaughtered in the town of Houla.
"We are all impatient and frustrated over the violence, over the killings. I am frustrated even more maybe than most of you," said Annan, who brokered a truce that has been violated daily since April 12.
"I really want to see things move much faster than they have done," said the former U.N. chief, also calling on the international community to "intensify its efforts" to help end 15 months of violence in Syria.
But he also struck a note of optimism, telling reporters in Beirut that the Syria crisis was "not something that can go on forever."
Up to 300 unarmed U.N. observers have deployed in Syria since the putative ceasefire went into effect as part of Annan's six-point peace plan, which also stipulated that the army must pull out of towns and cities.
Monitors say more than 13,400 people have been killed across Syria since an anti-regime uprising erupted in March 2011, including nearly 2,300 since April 12.
Annan left Beirut for Qatar after the press conference.
On Thursday he held talks with President Michel Suleiman at the Baabda palace on his peace plan for Syria and the issue of the 11 Lebanese pilgrims.
During the talks with Suleiman, Annan “evaluated his plan for Syria and the stages it has gone through,” NBN television reported.
“The issue of the abductees was also discussed, with Annan saying the case is engulfed in mystery as no one has claimed responsibility so far,” it added.
It said Annan did not say whether his plan has succeeded or not and that “he wanted to hear the president's viewpoint on the crisis.”
NBN noted that the two men did not discuss the controversial letter recently sent by Syria’s U.N. envoy Bashar al-Jaafari to the United Nations about alleged terrorist anti-Syria activity in Lebanon.
For its part, al-Manar television said Annan explained his plan in detail and spoke of the need to end violence in Syria.
“He did not discuss the issue of (trafficking) arms (from Lebanon to Syria) in detail, but he rejected foreign intervention in Syria,” al-Manar said.
“Annan clarified that the observers in Syria were not able to communicate with the abductors of the Lebanese pilgrims,” it added.
Meanwhile, MTV said Annan called for Lebanon to control its border with Syria while taking into consideration Jaafari's letter.
Annan later held talks in Ain al-Tineh with Speaker Nabih Berri. Al-Manar said the meeting lasted 40 minutes, without elaborating.
During his visit, Annan was expected to tackle the issue of the Lebanese-Syrian border and voice fear that the Syrian crisis is spilling over into Lebanon amid the latest security incidents in the country, An Nahar daily reported on Thursday.
He would warn Lebanese officials against destabilizing the country, diplomatic sources told An Nahar.
Lebanese are deeply divided between partisans and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad and fear is surging that the violence in Syria could spill over into Lebanon and fracture its fragile peace.
An estimated 24,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon, mostly in the northern region of Wadi Khaled, after Assad began using force to crush a popular uprising that erupted in March 2011.