UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan plans travel to Syria soon

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Envoy Kofi Annan and Secretary-General at press encounter

Envoy Kofi Annan and Secretary-General at press encounter

Kofi Annan, the newly appointed  United Nations-Arab League joint envoy for Syria says he knows it's a difficult assignment and a tough challenge, but he's ready to take it on.

In his first statement to the press at UN headquarters Wednesday night, Mr. Annan said the first thing that needs to be done is to get both humanitarian aid and workers into Syria. At the same time Mr. Annan says he will be working on securing a peaceful solution that respects the will of people and stabilizes the country.

"If we are going to succeed it is extremely important that we all accept that there should be one process of mediation, the one that both the UN and the Arab League have asked me to lead. When you have more than one and people take their own initiatives the parties play with the mediators. If one mediator says something they don't want they go to the other. So one single process and it is when the international community speaks with one voice that that voice is powerful."

Kofi Annan was head of the UN until 2006. Current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during the news conference that Mr. Annan will need the support of all those inside and outside Syria.

"The situation in Syria has grown increasingly desperate. There is no more urgent task before the international community than to end to the killing, immediately. The government must cease using force against civilians."

Next up for Mr. Annan will be a meeting in Cairo with the Secretary-General of the Arab League. Then he plans to travel to the capital of Syria, Damascus where he hopes to meet with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Duration:  1’09″

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