White House: Syria cease-fire plan ‘has not been succeeding’




Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s cease-fire plan for Syria “hasn’t been succeeding,” White House Spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday during his daily press briefing following reports that Syrian forces had killed four student protesters.

“We continue to hope that the Annan plan succeeds, and we are working to support it in every way possible,” Carney said, reading from a prepared statement. “However it is clear – and we will not deny – that the plan has not been succeeding thus far and that the regime has made no effort to take any of the steps required under the Annan plan, including moving toward the implementation of a full cease-fire. 

“If the regime’s intransigence continues, the international community is going to have to admit defeat and work to address the serious threat to peace and stability being perpetrated by the Assad regime.”

Carney said that would be done through the UN Security Council or other avenues, such as the Friends of Syria group.

The six-point Annan plan calls for a cease-fire, humanitarian aid, the release of political prisoners, the respect of freedom of the press and assembly and a “Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people.” The Syrian government said Thursday it was committed to Annan’s plan.

 ”At the same time, we are waiting for Mr. Annan to take tangible steps towards the armed terrorist groups and take commitments from the states which support and sponsor them to halt violence in Syria,” the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency quoted Minister of Information Adnan Mahmoud as saying.

The comments come after Derek Chollet, the senior director for strategy at the National Security Council, said the plan was “failing” during a Senate hearing last week.

The White House admission creates extra pressure on the administration to take extra measures to quell the bloodshed in Syria, where at least 10,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began a year ago. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) is in the region this week meeting with area leaders about possible next steps, including arming the rebels and creating safety zones protected by the international community.

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