The Guardian reports: There will be grave consequences if crisis talks at the United Nations fail to agree on a political resolution to end the violence in Syria, Kofi Annan has warned.
The joint Arab league-UN envoy told delegates at the emergency meeting in Geneva, including the foreign ministers of the UN security council’s five permanent members and representatives from the European Union and Arab states, that history “will judge us all harshly if we prove incapable of taking the right path today”.
Annan’s warning was echoed by the British foreign secretary, William Hague, who said it would be a catastrophe if the meeting failed to agree on a peace plan.
Hopes had been raised in recent days that the conference at the UN’s Palais des Nations was the best opportunity to find a peaceful solution to an escalating conflict that has claimed more than 15,000 lives. However, US and Russia have remained divided over key issues.
Annan said the war in Syria risked spilling over into a wider regional conflict of “grave severity”.
“By being here today you suggest intention to show leadership, but can you follow through?” he asked the delegates.
Annan all but criticised the representatives of the international community for failing to halt the bloodshed, saying the crisis should never have reached this point.
“Either unite to secure your common interests or divide and surely fail in your own individual way. Without your unity, your common resolve and your action now … nobody can win and everyone will lose in some way.”