A flurry of diplomatic activities to end the crisis in Syria is underway. At an Arab League ministerial meeting in Cairo on Saturday, the Qatari foreign minister made it clear that the time has come to dispatch Arab and international forces to Syria.
"We shall not really engage in discussing who is to blame, this could be done later by the authorities, by international structures who are empowered to do this. But today is the most urgent task to end all violence irrespective of where it comes from."
- Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister
At the same session, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, defended his country's position and justified its veto of a UN security council resolution against Syria last month, saying his government is not "protecting any regimes," but rather "protecting international law".
Meanwhile in Damascus, Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, held crucial talks with Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.
As a special envoy of the UN and the Arab League to Syria, Annan has the support of Damascus allies Beijing and Moscow and his mission has been welcomed by the Syrian government and the opposition.
But since the uprising in Syria began one year ago all political solutions proposed, either regionally or internationally, have failed to put an end to the continuing bloodshed in the country, so will Annan succeed? And what do all these diplomatic moves mean for the crisis in Syria?
Joining the show to discuss this are: Nancy Soderberg, a former US representative for special political affairs at the US Mission to the United Nations; Muhydin Alzikani, a Syrian writer and a member of the Syrian National Council; and Alexander Konovalov, the president of the Institute for Strategic Assessment.
FACTS: SEEKING A WAY OUT
- Kofi Annan has been appointed envoy to Syria by the UN and the Arab League
- Annan's mission has the support of both Beijing and Moscow
- It was also welcomed by the Syrian government and the opposition
- China and Russia have been criticised for vetoing a UN resolution on Syria
- Annan held talks with President Assad on Saturday
- According to the UN more than 7,500 have been killed in the uprising
- Activists say that government forces killed 77 people across Syria on Friday
- The Syrian National Council has called on Assad to allow aid into areas hit by crackdown
- Syrian forces assault the southeastern city of Idlib amid peace talks
- The Qatari foreign minister calls for international forces to enter Syria
- The Russian foreign minister told Arab ministers that Russia will work towards reform in Syria