Inside Syria

Can foreign powers determine Syria’s future?

As another plan to end the crisis is discussed, we ask if Syrian parties should be included to map out a transition.

On Saturday, foreign ministers from several countries including the US, Britain, France and key Syrian allies, Russia and China, met in Geneva to discuss a new proposal for Syria brokered by the UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

“Nobody has been invited and the question is whether any side, whether the regime itself or the opposition inside and outside, will accept what is going to be the outcome of this meeting in Geneva but we should remember that the regime did not implement any of the items of Annan’s plan, which seem to be the basis of this meeting in Geneva.

– Bassam Imadi, a member of the foreign relations committee of the Syrian National Council and former Syrian ambassador to Sweden

Annan’s proposal calls for the formation of a transitional government paving the way for multi-party elections, with an offer for “significant” international funding to rebuild war-torn Syria.

Although the proposal is supported by some of the major powers, Russia warned that it should not “predetermine” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fate.

In his opening remarks at the conference Annan admitted that his peace plan has failed so far in achieving significant results.

“The crisis has deepened, and the six-point plan has not been implemented. Action should clearly have been taken already to ensure implementation – but none has been forthcoming,” said Annan.

“The result is that an international crisis of grave severity now looms,” he added.

Annan’s efforts to end the crisis started in February this year when he was appointed special envoy to Syria by the UN and the Arab League.

“It is clear … the powers are meeting to create the conditions under which some sort of transitional government can occur. They are trying to probe and see what can be acceptable. It doesn’t mean that the various opposing Syrian parties need to be there for this to occur. Nobody expected for this meeting in Geneva to end up with some sort of a new constitution for Syria that would implement regime change overnight.

– Robert Jordan, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia

A month later, in March, he proposed a six-point peace plan calling for a ceasefire by all parties, a political process to address the aspirations of the Syrian people, the release of detainees, delivery of aid, free movement of journalists, and the right to protest.

As violence continued, the UN Security Council approved the deployment of 30 unarmed observers to monitor a ceasefire. It was the first resolution approved by all UN Council members including Russia and China.

One week later the number of observers deployed to Syria was increased to 300. But on June 16, the UN monitors misison was suspended citing significant risks to their lives.

As violence intensifies across Syria, Annan has put forward a new plan, which is being discussed in Geneva.

But can foreign powers determine Syria’s future?

Inside Syria, with presenter Ghida Fakhry, discusses Annan’s new plan for to end the crisis, with guests: Bassam Imadi, a member of the foreign relations committee of the Syrian National Council and former Syrian ambassador to Sweden; Robert Jordan, a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia; and Alexander Nekrassov, a former political adviser to the

“We haven’t reached an agreement in advance with Russia and China, that remains very difficult, I don’t know whether that will be possible to do so. And in the interest of saving thousands of lives and of our international responsibility, we will try to do so.”

William Hague, British foreign minister 



  • Nine UN members took part in an international conference on Syria held in Geneva on Saturday
  • The Geneva conference was called by the UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan
  • Annan proposed a plan for a handover of power in Syria
  • Annan’s plan calls for forming new unity government in Syria
  • Russian foreign minister: There is a ‘very good chance’ of finding common ground
  • Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, says he will not accept any solution imposed from outside
  • Russia warns any plan should not ‘predetermine’ al-Assad’s fate
  • Syria’s ally Iran has been excluded from the Geneva meeting
  • Russia calls Iran’s exclusion from Geneva conference a ‘mistake’
  • Relations between Turkey and Syria have deteriorated
  • Tens of thousands of Syrians have fled across the border into Turkey
  • Diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis in Syria have achieved little success
  • UN monitors say 15,000 people may have been killed in Syria since March 2011
  • Reports: 4,700 people have been killed since the ceasefire in April this year
  • UN officials say Syria is now embroiled in a full-scale civil war