The U.N.-Arab League special envoy on Syria, Kofi Annan, says arming Syrian rebel soldiers “will make this situation worse.” Meanwhile, a deputy Syrian oil minister resigned after 33 years of government service, saying he didn’t want to end his career “abetting the crimes of the regime.”
Former U.N. Secretary-General Annan began a fresh diplomatic push Thursday to seek a solution to the year-old conflict in Syria with a stop in Cairo. Annan, who is due to visit Syria Saturday, said his mission is to put an end to the violence.
“My only agenda in taking on this assignment is the welfare of the Syrian people. They are brave, ancient people and they deserve better. The killing has to stop and we need to find a way of reforming… in putting in the appropriate reforms and moving forward,” he said.
Annan warns the international community against arming Syrian rebels, pointing to last year’s experience of arming the Libyan opposition. ”I hope that no one is thinking very seriously of using force in this situation. I believe any further militarization will make this situation worse. We have to be careful that we don’t introduce a medicine that’s worse than the disease, and we don’t have to go very far in the region to find an example of what I’m talking about,” said Annan.
The Arab League is due to meet Saturday in Cairo to discuss what action can be taken on Syria. Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby does not see a military solution to the conflict.