Inside Syria
Syria: A death knell for diplomacy?
As Kofi Annan quits as the UN's envoy to Syria, we ask if there is still hope for a diplomatic solution.
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2012 09:15

The UN General Assembly has recently passed a resolution condemning the ongoing bloodshed in Syria, criticising its Security Council for remaining divided on the issue.

The resolution was strongly opposed by a number of countries, including Russia and China - the two major powers that have repeatedly used their vetoes in the Security Council to block real action on the Syrian issue.

"No, I don't think it's an end, sooner or later the whole affair will end with a negotiated settlement, we had a civil war in Lebanon that continued for 14 years and it ended with a settlement ... the end was some kind of truce between warring parties and that is exactly what Moscow would like to see in Syria."

- Dimitri Babich, a writer  and political analyst 

But the international bickering came to a head at the UN, leading to Kofi Annan's resignation as special envoy to Syria. The move is viewed by many as a collapse of diplomatic hope on the country that been in a violent deadlock for over a year.

Meanwhile, a Saudi-backed resolution has been passed, slamming the Syrian government for its use of violence – outraging the Syrians.

Bashar Jaafari, Syria's UN ambassador, said: "This draught has no impact whatsoever. On the contrary, it will help the Syrian government increase its serious efforts in order to bring about a peaceful settlement to the Syrian domestic crisis which is not anymore domestic as you know. It has an international dimension and a regional dimension and a very negative Arab dimension."

The Arab dimension he mentions are a throw to Syria's stance that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are arming the rebels to increase Sunni control in the region.

Thus far, civilians and opposition fighters in Aleppo have faced the most serious and sustained shelling yet as some contend the main battle for control of Syria's second city is well underway. The rebels reportedly control around one-third of the city.

But with neither the Syrian Army nor the rebels showing any signs of backing down an apparently permanent and bloody stalemate may be looming. 

And however heated the arguments at the UN headquarters in New York become, now that diplomacy has lost a key player, the war will continue to drag on.

Is there any hope of a diplomatic solution with the resignation of Kofi Annan? Why did Kofi Annan fail in Syria? And is it a hopeless task to try to negotiate peace in Syria at this point?

Inside Syria, with presenter Mike Hanna, discusses with guests: Louay Safi, a member of the Syrian National Council; David Mack, a former US deputy assistant secretary of state for near east affairs; and Dimitri Babich, a political analyst and writer for the news website 'Voice of Russia'.

"I think that it is a blow to diplomatic efforts. You always want to have an experienced, qualified mediator who can talk to all parties but it does not mean that it will be impossible. The United States has made clear that it will continue to deal with governments in the international community that are trying to achieve some kind of peaceful, negotiated resolution."

David Mack, a former US deputy assistant secretary of state for near east affairs


  • Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, resigned on Thursday
  • Qatar says new UN-Arab League envoy must focus on transition in Syria
  • Saudi Arabia has put forward a new resolution that was passed by UNGA
  • UN General Assembly denounces Syria’s crackdown on the opposition
  • Countries at the UN urged Syria to implement a 6-point peace plan
  • Qatari ambassador to UN says it's time to act quickly to end crisis
  • Syrian ambassador to UN: resolution a blatant hypocrisy by Arab states
  • Russia and China oppose UN resolution that could put sanctions on Syria
  • Wrangling by UN Security Council members angered Kofi Annan
  • Syrian government forces try to retake parts of Aleppo, push rebels out
  • Syrian rebels being attacked by helicopters, fighter jets
  • Moscow reaches agreement with Syria on exports of crude oil to Russia
  • Syria will give Russia crude oil in exchange for refined goods


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