UN to hold emergency meeting on Syria as violence continues to rage

June 28, 2012

By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times

With a new warning that strife-torn Syria confronts a “catastrophic” fate, the United Nations said Wednesday it will convene an emergency session Saturday in a bid to salvage a faltering, U.N.-brokered peace plan that has failed to halt the nation’s slide toward civil war.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed to participate in the “Action Group for Syria” meeting inGeneva after special US envoy Kofi Annan excludedIran, Washington’s arch-enemy and a stalwart ally ofSyrian President Bashar Assad. British officials also welcomed the Annan plan and Foreign Secretary William Hague announced he would attend the Saturday session.

The top US diplomat said Annan had devised a “political transition road map” that provides some hope for resolving the bloody conflict that is escalating into an unchecked cycle of sectarian murders, kidnappings and atrocities by both sides, according to a new U.N. report.

“The situation on the ground is dangerously and quickly deteriorating,” the U.N. Human Rights Councilwrote. “Further militarization of the crisis will be catastrophic.”

Details of Annan’s new “road map” were not disclosed. Ministers meeting in Geneva will be tasked with agreeing on “guidelines and principles for a Syrian-led political transition,” said a statement from Annan’s office. But Clinton clearly endorsed the approach as an improvement on the special envoy’s failed entreaties to Assad to take “bold steps” to implement a U.N.-brokered six-point peace plan.

US officials have insisted on a “political transition” mandate, a phrase that does not appear in Annan’s original six-point plan. Clinton said she had personally spoken with Annan three times in the past 24 hours.

To read more, visit: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0627/UN-to-hold-emergency-meeting-on-Syria-as-violence-continues-to-rage

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