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On Syria, Annan Says Assad Has Accepted 6 Point Plan, with No Word on Opposition or from Ban Ki-moon

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 27, updated -- From Beijing Kofi Annan's spokesman sent an e-mail to the Press just after 6 am New York time: "The Syrian government has written to the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan accepting his six point plan." Full e-mail below.

  But what would this "accepting" mean? There was no announcement that any part of the Syrian opposition had accepted Annan's plan. If for example another car bomb were to go off in Damascus or Aleppo, could Assad claim that he had tried but the opposition hadn't?

  Assad's first written response to Annan, which Inner City Press obtained and put online, set a number of conditions for moving forward, including the opposition stopping, and neighboring countries stopping saying they would arm the opposition.

 Now, the Free Syrian Army has given up urban territory it controlled. What role does that play in Assad's new position?

On March 26, Annan's spokesman Fawzi had e-mailed the press just before noon that

"The Syrian Government has formally responded to the Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan's 6-point plan, as endorsed by the UN Security Council. Mr. Annan is studying it and will respond very shortly."

At the UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the deputy spokesman of Ban Ki-moon, Annan's successor as Secretary General, if Annan would consult Ban before responding:

Inner City Press: on the statement you just have from the Spokesman for the Joint Special Envoy, without obviously getting into what the response of Syria is, it says he’s gotten it and he is going to respond to it. Before he responds to it, does he check with the Secretary-General and with Nabil Elaraby of the League of Arab States, or is his response to it entirely up to him?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Well, our Secretary-General is in regular and constant contact with Mr. Annan, so I would imagine that Mr. Annan will be discussing this with the Secretary-General and will be raising his observations and what he may plan to say.

Question: Sure, what I am asking is the process for Kofi Annan to check with the two Secretary-Generals and then respond, or does he respond and then tell them how he responded?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well he has been appointed by both Secretaries-General, and he is in constant communication with them, so I imagine the conversation is ongoing.

  This process is important: does "Joint Special Envoy" Annan confer with the UN's Ban and Arab League before responding, or not? Ban's spokesman should not be "imagining" how it works.

  What we know of Ban's last 60 hours in Seoul is that he has spoken with the leaders of Gabon, Turkey, Australia, Finland, Ukraine and at most length South Korea.

  In front of the Security Council in New York on Monday, Inner City Press asked if Ban will meet with Russia's President who is in Seoul, and who has met with US President Barack Obama. No, the answer came.

 So Kofi Annan met with Russia, but Ban did not. And where is Ban now, after Annan has made his response? Watch this site.

Annan's spokesman's announcement:

From: Ahmad Fawzi
Date: Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 6:09 AM
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the

Joint Special Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan

The Syrian government has written to the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan accepting his six point plan, endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. Mr Annan has written to President Assad urging the Syrian government to put its commitments into immediate effect.

Mr Annan views this as an important initial step that could bring an end to the violence and the bloodshed, provide aid to the suffering, and create an environment conducive to a political dialogue that would fulfil the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.

Mr Annan has stressed that implementation will be key, not only for the Syrian people, who are caught in the middle of this tragedy, but also for the region and the international community as a whole. As the Syrian government acts on its commitments, Mr Annan will move urgently to work with all parties to secure implementation of the plan at all levels.

The Joint Special Envoy expresses his appreciation for the wide backing he has received for his mediation efforts, and appeals to key countries to support this development and help ensure its effective implementation.

Beijing, 27 March 2012
Ahmad Fawzi, Spokesman for the Joint Special Envoy

Update: after publication of the above, Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office sent out an e-mail, merely forwarding Fawzi's announcement. What does Ban think? Was he even consulted? Watch this site.

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