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March 8, 12

NEWS / Joint UN-Arab League envoy urges immediate halt to Syria violence

8 March 2012 –
The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria today called for an immediate end to the killings and warned against the use of force to bring an end to the crisis.

“I hope no one is thinking very seriously of using force in the situation. I believe any further militarization will make the situation worse,” Kofi Annan said at a joint press conference in Cairo with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Nabil El-Araby.

“We have to be careful that we don’t introduce a medicine that is worse than the disease,” he added. “And we do not have to go very far in the region to find an example of what I am talking about.”

Mr. Annan is in the Egyptian capital for discussions with the Arab League ahead of his scheduled visit this weekend to Syria, where thousands of people have been killed as a result of the Government’s ongoing crackdown against a pro-democracy uprising that began last year.

The former UN Secretary-General has been tasked with helping to end the deadly violence gripping the country and find a peaceful political solution. He stressed to reporters the need for the killing to stop and to find a way to move forward.

“The level of violence is excessive and unacceptable by any standards,” stated Mr. Annan. “This cannot continue. The violence and the killing must stop and stop immediately. There is an urgent need to change course.”

Top UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, have spoken out against the recent escalation of violence in Syria and called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to end the fighting and assist civilians.

Ms. Amos is currently in Syria, meeting with officials in Damascus as well as visiting areas such as Homs, which has been the scene of the latest escalation of violence.

Yesterday the UN and the Arab League announced the appointment of Nasser Al Kidwa, a former Palestinian diplomat, as the Deputy Joint Special Envoy for Syria. He is tasked with helping Mr. Annan find a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis.

The uprising in Syria is part of the broader Arab Spring protest movement that began at the start of last year and has toppled several long-standing regimes in North Africa and the Middle East.




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