Annan Says 'External Powers' Encouraging Syria Violenceإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said "external powers" have encouraged violence in Syria as he issued a new plea for unity ahead of a key international meeting on the conflict on Saturday.
"Many external powers are deeply involved. Despite formal unity behind the six-point plan, mutual mistrust has made them work at cross-purposes," Annan said in a commentary for the Washington Post published Friday.
Without naming the countries, Annan said: "Intentionally or otherwise, they have encouraged the government and parts of the opposition to believe that force is the only option. This serves no one's interest -- least of all that of the Syrian people."
Annan is to meet with the foreign ministers of the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China in Geneva on Saturday in a bid to get international support for a transitional political plan for Syria.
Russia, Syria's last main ally, has blocked Western efforts to impose sanctions on President Bashar Assad and insisted that his removal cannot be forced by outside nations.
The United States, Britain and France have all demanded tough action, including sanctions, to back Annan's effort to halt the conflict, which activists say has left more than 15,000 people dead.
Annan said that while the conflict can only be resolved by the Syrian sides "it would be naive to think they could, on their own, end the violence now and enter into a meaningful political process."
He said "it is time for all who have influence on the parties, and all who bear responsibility for international peace and security, to act positively for peace."
The action group to be formed in Geneva "must commit to act in unison to end the bloodshed and implement the six-point plan," he added.
"It is abundantly clear that the violence will not stop without joint, sustained pressure from those with influence, including consequences for noncompliance."
Annan has proposed a national unity government that "could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups" but exclude "those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation."
After a national dialogue and the writing of a new constitution, multi-party elections would be held.
Ahead of Saturday's meeting, Russia has objected to any condition that could allow Assad to be automatically excluded from an interim government, according to diplomats.
"If all participants in Saturday's meeting are ready to act accordingly, we can turn the tide of violence and embark on a road to peace in which the Syrian people determine their future," said Annan. "If not, the downward spiral will continue -- and may soon become irreversible."