by Ray Fleming

The UN Security Council and the Arab League having failed to find a formula to bring the fighting and killings in Syria to an end deputed the task to Kofi Annan, a former UN Secretary General who has subsequently proved himself to be a skilled negotiator.

After meetings with president Assad of Syria and with China and Russia (the two naysayers in the Security Council over the Arab League's proposals) Mr Annan announced at the end of last week that he had reached an agreement with Assad for a cease-fire to be followed by withdrawal of Syrian forces from conflict zones and access to them by humanitarian organisations.

Subsequently Mr Annan has named April 10 as the agreed date for the cease-fire.
Not everyone is satisfied with these results from almost three weeks of negotiation.
As usual Assad is dragging his feet as slowly as he can and there remain a number of loose ends in the agreements reached.
Most glaringly, they say little about how Syria will be restored to civil peace and discussions started between the rival parties on the country's future, including Assad's role, if any, in it.

But Kofi Annan knows that in secure peace-making the pace is inevitably slow and if one tries to reach comprehensive agreements too soon even limited progress may be impossible. He must be trusted.


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