Syrian rebels dismiss UN dialogue
Russia Today – 09/03/2012
A joint UN-Arab league envoy to Syria has called on both the opposition and government forces to halt fighting and push for political dialogue, a suggestion that has incited the ire of rebels in the city of Homs.
“We will do our best to call and push to the cessation of hostilities and end the bloodshed and violence. The Syrian people deserve better. It is a brave and ancient people who are trapped,” said former UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan from neighboring Egypt on Thursday.
The envoy is due to arrive in Syria on Saturday, almost a year after the conflict began.
Annan’s appeal provoked uproar amongst rebels in the embattled city of Homs, with one activist telling Reuters news agency it would only encourage President Assad “to crush the revolution.”
“We reject any dialogue while tanks shell our towns, snipers shoot our women and children, and many areas are cut off from the world by the regime without electricity, communications or water,” said Hadi Abdullah, speaking to Reuters from Homs.
UN humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos, currently on a three-day visit to the troubled nation, addressed journalists in Damascus, describing the embattled neighborhood of Baba Amr in Homs as “completely destroyed.” She said that she was struck by the devastation caused by the 26-day besiegement of the city.
Amos demanded unhindered access for aid delivery to victims of the ongoing crisis. While the Syrian government said it need “more time” to study agreement proposed agreement, it is ready to offer partial access.
“The government has agreed to a limited assessment exercise by UN agencies and the Syrian authorities which would give us some information about what is happening in the country,” Reuters cites Amos as saying.
A giant 90-day aid package is currently being prepared by the UN, aimed at providing basic food supplies to 1.5 million people in violence-torn areas of Syria.
The UN estimates that over 7,500 Syrians have perished since the uprisings against President Bashar al-Assad began last March, while the opposition puts the death toll at above 8,000.
Diplomacy in the doldrums
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov is currently engaged in talks over a new Security Council resolution on the conflict. He said Russia would only agree to if it contained “equitable demands to all the parties to that conflict.”
He stressed that Russia would not agree to any document that “stipulates a pretext for military force to be used against Syria.”
“We continue complex consultations in NYC on the ‘Syrian resolution’ with the aim of reaching the text addressing equal demands for both parties,” Gennady Gatilov wrote in his Twitter microblog on Thursday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is due to meet with the League of Arab States on Saturday to discuss the situation in Syria.
The international community has hitherto failed to come to an agreement concerning the escalating conflict in Syria. Russia and China have exercised their veto on two Security Council resolutions on the basis that the documents were biased in favor of the Syrian opposition.
Prolonging the violence
Opposition rhetoric has become progressively more uncompromising as the conflict has developed in Syria, with increasing demands for President Assad’s immediate removal and execution. Though it is unclear from where these demands originate.
“This is the way to provoke Syrians to kill Syrians. They want to connect act of terror and violence with noble things and ideas, like dignity, or symbolic names in the history of Syria and of course – to meet some political purposes,” Ahmad Al Haj Ali, Journalist and Political analyst told RT’s Maria Finoshina in Damascus.
Al Haj Ali went on to state that the opposition seeks to change people’s mentality. He cited the example of Friday, traditionally a day of prayer for Syrians being used by the opposition to stage anti-government protests.
“Friday – a day for prayers and God, when people feel unity with themselves – has become the day of violence. It eventually makes our people, and state, weak and divided,” he said.