AN unprecedented mass expulsion of Syrian envoys from countries around the world, following a gruesome massacre in the town of Houla last Friday, shows the world is running out of patience with the current Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad. However, the extreme measure by western nations also indicates the breakdown of diplomacy in resolving this lingering humanitarian crisis, despite the last ditch efforts by the international envoy Kofi Anan.
The United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Japan, Turkey and the Netherlands all moved to expel Syrian diplomats, blaming the Syrian government for Houla killings. According to a fresh UN report, 49 children and 34 women were among 108 people who were brutally killed in their homes in the Syrian town of Houla last week. Though Damascus has denied any role in the massacre, most independent observers blame the pro-government Shabiha militia for the massacre.
Now the hopes of a peaceful settlement to the Syrian crisis rest on the success of Kofi Annan's fresh efforts. The UN and Arab League envoy met Assad on Tuesday to convey international outrage over the Houla incident. "I appealed to him (Assad) for bold steps now - not tomorrow, now - to create momentum for the implementation of the peace plan," Annan told reporters after the meeting. He also asked the armed opposition to cease acts of violence.
Kofi Annan's efforts are commendable. However, a divided world community cannot exert enough pressure on Assad and the Syrian opposition to implement the peace plan. It has to forge unity among its ranks. The support of Russia and China is crucial for the success of international peace efforts.
A further deterioration of crisis is not in anyone's interest. Damascus must realise this and take concrete steps towards the implementation of the peace plan.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Feel free to comment on this article using your Facebook account. By submitting your comment, you agree to the Terms and Conditions for the use of this comments feature, as stated here.