THE UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's meeting with the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday, his third in recent months, gives some hopes again of resolving the 16-month-old unrest, which according to the UN observers, has claimed over 17,000 lives.
However, given the past inflexible stands of both the Syrian regime and the opposition, there is still scepticism in many quarters. After his meeting with Bashar, the former UN chief said: "We discussed the need to end the violence and ways and means of doing so. We agreed an approach which I will share with the armed opposition." Though Annan is yet to disclose the essence of the new approach, it will certainly be a tough task for him in convincing the opposition groups, who seem to be unrelenting, with all the violence and mounting casualties. The first thing to bring calm in the beleaguered country is to put an immediate halt to hostilities by both the regime and the armed opposition, which the relentless Annan has been pressing for since long. And this would pave the way for a dialogue to sort out the issue politically. The Syrian leadership and the opposition groups should not let go this opportunity of resolving the imbroglio, which is causing a humungous loss to the nation and making it a pariah state. The Western curbs have crippled its economy. The unceasing violence, destruction and killings have thrown up a humanitarian crisis, with hapless people taking refuge in neighbouring countries. And not only this, the aggression has started spilling out into Lebanon.
As the world community is watching in exasperation the obstinacy of the Syrian regime, it is increasingly becoming clear that President Assad is on a sticky wicket. If things continue like this, Syria would get more isolated in the international community. Hence, it's time for its leadership to rethink its stand and take pragmatic steps for a negotiated political settlement.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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