Despite Damascus' placatory statements and assurances that it would help the UN and Arab League (AL) joint special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan with his mission to end the Syrian crisis, skepticism and doubts have overshadowed the prospects of the mission.
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan smiles as he speaks to the press on March 16, 2012 in Geneva after a videoconference briefing of the United Nations Security Council. [Xinhua]
Syria stresses commitment to Annan's mission
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi reasserted Friday that Syria is committed to "positively cooperate" with Annan, but stressed that the government would not pull troops from restive cities and towns before life returns to normal in those areas.
The statement came in response to the appeal made by Annan's spokesman who urged the Syrian government to lay down weapons and implement the peace plan immediately. "The deadline is now," said the spokesman. "We are appealing to the stronger party to make a gesture of good faith."
Interviewed by the Syrian Satellite TV, Makdessi urged Annan to tour the countries which finance, host and encourage the opposition and to put pressure on them to halt their anti-Syria acts, stressing that the presence of Syrian army in the cities is for defensive purposes. "Once peace and security prevail, the Army is to pull out,'' he said.
In an apparent declaration of victory over the opposition, Makdissi asserted that the battle to bring down the state of Syria had failed and that the battle for stabilization and upgrading the renewed Syria had started.
In his first public comment on the peace plan, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Thursday that his country would spare no effort to make Annan's mission successful. However, he appeared to set preconditions for its implementation as he said Annan should obtain commitments from other parties to stop all terrorist acts, disarm gunmen and end their terrorist acts.
The Syrian government blames the yearlong crisis in Syria on armed groups who are working out a foreign conspiracy.
Annan has garnered support to his plan from almost all world leaders. The plan calls for an end to violence in Syria by all parties, a proposal for a cease-fire initiated by the Syrian government, a daily halt in fighting for the delivery of humanitarian aid and treatment for the wounded, as well as talks between the government and opposition.
Syria has officially approved the plan and its stance has drawn the world's consent without shunning aside the possibility of looking for further options should the Syrian government backtracked from its commitment.