Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan met with Syrian President Bashar Assad Saturday in the capital, Damascus, in a bid to head off what U.S. and other officials fear could become a full-fledged civil war in Syria.
The veteran Ghanaian diplomat, representing the U.N. and the Arab League, faced a daunting task: trying to reach a deal to curb the violence and jump-start negotiations between two sides that refuse to speak with each other.
Syrian television called Annan’s visit “positive,” but there was no word Saturday on any concrete results. Annan did not comment. Annan planned a second round of talks with the Syrian president today, a U.N. spokesperson said in a statement.
Annan’s call for an immediate cease-fire and political dialogue has been dismissed as a nonstarter by both sides. In his talks Saturday with Assad, Annan put “several proposals on the table” for stopping violence, gaining access for humanitarian aid deliveries and starting an “inclusive political dialogue,” the U.N. said.